June 2017

Issue link: http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/i/837816

Contents of this Issue


Page 152 of 152

153 M organ Kukla laughs when she reflects on her college recruitment. In many ways, it was Kukla who recruited the University of Iowa women's golf program, not the other way around. "Coach (Megan Menzel) said I would not go away in the recruiting process," Kukla said at a University of Iowa Athletics all-staff meeting May 10. "I kept emailing her and as annoying as I probably was, it worked. She offered me the walk- on spot and I took it." One reason Kukla was overlooked in the recruiting process was that her high school, Zion Benton Township (Illinois), didn't offer girls' golf, so she participated on the boys' team. "at made recruiting kind of hard because nobody really knew who I was," Kukla said. "I sent out a lot of emails, I got a lot of no's, and I also got a lot of no replies." Her break came during the Illinois Women's Open when she was paired with a future Hawkeye. Menzel was on hand for the first nine holes — long enough to watch Kukla bomb. "I was so nervous, but I put on the most confident face I could," Kukla said. Aerward, she emailed Menzel. And emailed again and again. Finally, the Hawkeye head coach asked if Kukla wanted to make an unofficial visit to Iowa City. "I fell in love with the campus. It's unlike any other campus I visited," Kukla said. "I told my parents, 'I don't care what (Menzel) offers, I'm going to take it because I absolutely love it here." In her time at Iowa, Kukla has evolved from a super-emotional, fiery golfer who was shooting in the low 80s into a confident, mature golfer shooting under par. "I don't think any other program could have done that for me," Kukla said. "e coaches saw more potential in me than I even saw in myself." Prior to 2016-17, Kukla had fired one round below par. She accomplished that feat three times during her most recent season. Her stroke average of 82- plus is now just a tab above 78 with a career-best 71 at the Hawkeye-El Tigre in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in April. Kukla tied for 61st at the Big Ten Championships in her final action of the season April 21-23 in Maineville, Ohio. e successful season comes aer Kukla missed the entire spring of 2016 with a broken foot. Instead of staying away from Finkbine Golf Course, Kukla hopped to practice in a cast and then a boot to fine-tune her short game. "(e coaches) said, 'Let's get better every day,'" Kukla said. "ey made sure I was making the most of my time." Kukla, who just finished her junior season, was named most improved and best team player at the Hawkeyes' postseason banquet. "For me, (what it means to be a Hawkeye) is hard to put in words," Kukla said. "e one word I came up with was pride. I am so proud to be a Hawkeye and to have this opportunity to play for this incredible university and make connections throughout the country."

Articles in this issue

view archives of HAWK TALK - June 2017