Senior Rose Huang can see her name written in four different columns in the BYU golf individual record book for her final year with BYU golf: record low for 18, 36 and 72 holes, as well as the best average score over the course of a season.
Huang lived in China until the age of 4, where she became involved in gymnastics and swimming. Her parents both received scholarships to BYU-Hawaii, causing the family to make the move to the U.S.
“My parents got a special scholarship, so that was the main reason,” Huang said. “None of us are members of the Church, but the opportunity opened up.”
Huang joined a junior development golf program at the age of 8 and showed natural ability early on.
“Golf clicked with me really well from the beginning, and things just escalated from there,” Huang said.
This talent lead her to solely pursue golf competitively, making it her priority. While the other sports brought Huang joy, the challenges that accompanied golf gave her a deeper sense of satisfaction.
“I think taking it super seriously makes it different in terms of how fun it is,” Huang said. “I really like competing with golf because I invested a lot more time and energy into it, and I tended to see bigger improvements.”
Huang said this time and energy is required because of the deeper learning curve golf has compared to other sports.
“For long periods of time, you don’t see any improvement at all, even though you do everything that you’re supposed to do,” Huang said. “It’s very mentally challenging to push through the plateaus.”
She planned from a young age on golf being a major part of her college experience. She and her family were all dedicated to this plan.
When it came time to commit to a Division I NCAA team, she considered other schools like Gonzaga, Northwestern University, University of Oregon and Pepperdine. Ultimately, the culture of BYU’s golf team and the campus won her over during her visit as a high school junior.
“I really loved coach Carrie and the girls on the team,” Huang said. “And the business school was a really big draw for me.”
Now a senior double majoring in global supply management and food science, Huang says she did not feel intimidated about the idea of attending a school affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Growing up near BYU-Hawaii, Huang knew about and lived the honor code standards growing up. She claims BYU stands out in a good way.
“It’s definitely different, but I enjoy it because it’s a safer environment and I feel that people here are a lot nicer,” Huang said. “I like being able to walk around campus and expect people to smile back if I smile at them.”
She officially joined the BYU golf roster in 2015 and said she felt a positive connection to BYU women’s golf head coach Carrie Roberts and her coaching style from the very start. According to Huang, Roberts’ strategy differs from others, as she makes her athletes work for their answers
“She wants us to find answers instead of giving them to us, forcing us to think for ourselves,” Huang said. “Golf is an individual sport and you have to be able to make the right decision without someone constantly telling you everything.”
Huang initially struggled with her nerves as a freshman, realizing her performance would affect her entire team.
“I feel like I have become mentally tougher in the sense in that I was so nervous for tournaments at the beginning,” Huang said. “Now I can perform a lot better under pressure because I’ve become more resilient.”
She accustomed to the pressure and took first place at the 2018 WCC Golf Championships. Aside from the recognition and legacy she has created for herself at BYU, Huang’s years playing golf have taught her how to get the most out of life.
“It helped me to be more mentally aware because you can’t coast through anything, because then you’re not getting the most out of life,” Huang said. “You have to be engaged, and I think golf has really taught me how to do that.”
Roberts said she is saddened by Huang’s departure as Huang uses her final year of NCAA eligibility this season after the two spent four years together.
“I have loved my time with Rose, and she has taught me a lot,” Roberts said. “She’s the nicest human being, but she’s such a fierce competitor.”
A specific strength of Huang’s sticks out to Roberts in particular: her short game.
“She makes more mid-range shots than the average person,” Roberts said. “I’ve seen her hit a terrible shot but still win the hole because she remains calm.”
According to Roberts, much of the team’s success is due to Huang’s work ethic and discipline.
“She came in and was the last piece of the puzzle for us and helped us win three conference championships,” Roberts said. “She’s been one of the best players to come through BYU golf.”
Far from burnt out, Huang plans to play golf following her graduation in Winter 2020.
“I can’t get enough. I wish I had more time with the team and playing competitive college golf,” Huang said. “It’s challenging and never gets easier, and I feel like its a never ending motivation to keep getting better.”