Feb. 12, 2014
NOTRE DAME --- The University of Notre Dame women's golf team will kick off the spring season next week as they head down to Sarasota, Fla., for the Central District Invitational.
The Irish are especially eager for the start of the season, as it marks their transition into the Atlantic Coast Conference. For head coach Susan Holt, this new conference holds the promise of new opportunities to build the Notre Dame program.
"Having the opportunity to compete for an ACC title in April is exciting for us and gives us a chance to start new traditions and rivalries," she says. "ACC women's golf is consistently one of the top three conferences in the country. Each year, ACC teams are contending for a national championship. To be in that mix of teams is very challenging and will only make our program stronger."
The team has not let the harsh South Bend winter hold them back in terms of preparing for this exciting season. Besides traveling to Florida for two days last week to practice outside, the Irish have been making good use of their top-notch indoor facility over the course of the winter months.
"On campus we have been getting in great practice sessions at our indoor golf facility where we can chip, putt and hit full shots," Holt explains. "We have a new simulator that has become part of the daily practice regimen which has proved to be very beneficial."
Even so, it must be said that Notre Dame is looking forward to get back on the green.
"We are served well on a daily basis in the winter months, but nothing compares to being able to be outside and playing. It will be a welcome change to be in the fresh air and see some green grass and play the game," she adds.
The Irish enter the spring ranked 44th in the NCAA after a fall record of 28-34-2. A highlight from the fall includes junior Ashley Armstrong's performance at the Mary Fossum Invitational, in which she placed second and carded a three-below-par round of 69. Sophomore Talia Campbell stepped up for the team as well, finishing at the top of the Irish leaderboard at both the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships and the Tar Heel Invitational. Newcomer Jordan Ferreira also set herself apart with the third-lowest stroke average on the team this fall and two top-25 finishes.
Still, Holt is looking forward to making long strides of improvement this fall. She is well aware of the strong potential of her team.
"Our goals for the spring semester are to work hard everyday and make improvements along the way," she remarks. "If we can do that, the results will take care of themselves. Each player has their own areas to improve on, and if they can each make strides to do that the team will benefit in the end. It would be a great accomplishment to be in the mix the last day of the ACC Championship. If we can position ourselves to do that, we will have had a successful spring and be ready to advance to the NCAA Championship."
The action gets started this coming Monday, Feb. 17 at the Lakewood Ranch Cyprus Course in Sarasota, Fla. Results can be found here at UND.com.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant