Just over 4,155 miles from Iowa City lies Oviedo, Spain, the hometown of freshman golfer Elisa Suarez.
Suarez began her golf career at six years old. She said her influences were her father and his brothers, who all golfed, as well as the other children her age who began golfing at the club she attended.
Iowa head coach Megan Menzel said she became interested in Suarez after hearing about her from assistant coach Todd Selders.
“[Selders] was over at the British Junior Girls last year and had the opportunity to get to see her,” Menzel said.
Selders said he was impressed with her attitude when he first saw Suarez.
“She was really calm even though she wasn’t playing too well, but she didn’t get too mad or upset,” he said. “She really kept her composure.”
Her positive attitude seemed to have been one of the main driving points for Hawkeyes coaching staff.
A good attitude is key, Selders said.
“We do not want them getting upset if they happen to not be playing too well earlier in the rounds,” he said. “We want them to have a level head and have good composure.”
Although Suarez had several other offers, she decided on the Iowa because she believed she fit in with the program.
“I really like all the golf facilities [Iowa] offered, and the golf program really looked like what I was looking for,” Suarez said.
So far, the transition has not been too hard on Suarez.
“People in the United States are very welcoming and open,” she said. “It was also nice to see that people had interest in meeting me and learning more about my culture.”
Menzel noted that Suarez’s father seemed to have helped the adjustment process a bit. She said he was able to stay in Iowa City for few days with her before school started and was able to get to know the community a bit.
“Judging by the smile that’s been on her face every day, it seems like she’s really enjoying her time in Iowa,” Menzel said.
Although many things differ between Spain and the United States, the game stays the same. Suarez said that the only difference between courses in the two countries is that they seem to be a bit longer in America.
The coaching staff has been very impressed with the skills Suarez has demonstrated.
Menzel said Suarez has great composure and attitude on the course.
In the coming years, the coach said, she hopes that Suarez will take on an influential role.
“We’ll look for some great leadership out of her,” Menzel said. “As she continues to get comfortable, I think she’ll do some really great things.”