As an industrial design major at Notre Dame, Becca Huffer is learning how to shape products to illicit a lasting visual impact on the conscience of consumers.
“Cars, shampoo bottles, you name it,” she says.
Huffer, a rising junior on the Fighting Irish golf team, will likely need the same thinking-person’s approach as she routinely takes to the classroom. After all, on the Warren Course, the reward comes from subtly shaping shots to targets on a track that values precision over power. Notre Dame’s women’s golf program uses the layout at its home facility, and it’s a safe bet that no competitor in the 156-player field knows the course’s curves better than Huffer, a voracious worker. Huffer says she welcomes the pressure of playing a big game at home.
“I expect myself to play well because I know the course,” she says. “I really like the course; it can be challenging, but very scorable if you’re in the right places. There can be a few bad places, too.”
The possessor of an enviable natural, syrupy swing and Notre Dame’s stroke average leader as a sophomore, Huffer by now might be due at the national championship. This will be her fifth-straight appearance in the WAPL and she made match play the past two years, but a match-play victory has somehow eluded her grasp. Part of it can be attributed to the dynamics of match play where success is determined by holes won and not aggregate score; she shot the stroke-play equivalent of one under par in last year’s opening-round match, but fell to Yueer “Cindy” Feng, 3 and 1.
But the Denver, Colo., native and former Colorado High School Female Athlete of the Year knows the value of adapting. She remembers arriving in idyllic, simple and – well, flat – northern Indiana as a newcomer and thinking, ‘This isn’t Denver.’
“I had to buy a hat and glove,” she remembers.
At least South Bend’s snowy winters had some familiar characteristics. Sort of.
“The snow doesn’t stick around in Denver like it does here,” she laughs.
Admittedly, Huffer has been pointing to the national championship since last summer when she found it was going to be staged in her own backyard. As a sophomore, she performed like a player ready for a next step, finishing out of the top-20 only once in 11 tournaments.
Huffer says one of her most memorable golf moments came last year when she visited Ireland and played Ballybunion, Tralee, Old Head, Waterville and Kilarney. Poised to shine on the national stage, she enters the WAPL with her share of confidence, having advanced past sectional qualifying for the national championship.
“Hopefully things will go my way this time,” she says.
Huffer has designs on it.
By Andrew Blair