Having completed her 13th season as Notre Dame’s head women’s golf coach in 2018-19, Susan Holt has transformed the Fighting Irish into one of the nation’s most successful and consistent programs both on and off the course.
At Notre Dame
- First NCAA Championship berth in program history (2011)
- Four Conference Championships
- Six-time conference Coach of the Year
- 10 NCAA regional appearances
- 34 NGCA/WGCA All-Scholar Team selections
- 46 conference all-academic team honorees
A six-time conference Coach of the Year, Holt has led Notre Dame to 10 NCAA regional appearances in the last 12 seasons, including the first NCAA Championship berth in program history (2011). She has also helped the team lower its season stroke average by more than 10 strokes since she arrived on the scene in 2006.
Holt has piloted Notre Dame to four conference titles, 17 total tournament championships and the top 13 single-season stroke averages in the program’s record book, all while guiding Fighting Irish players to 15 medalist honors and 27 all-conference accolades as well as the first two All-America selections in Notre Dame women’s golf history. Holt also recruited and coached Notre Dame’s first LPGA Tour member, Becca Huffer.
Holt’s student-athletes have found equal success in the classroom, with Fighting Irish players collecting 34 NGCA/WGCA All-Scholar Team citations, 46 conference all-academic team certificates and the first three Academic All-America honors in program history (Ashley Armstrong in 2013, 2014 and 2015). In addition, Notre Dame earned a pair of BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Awards (2011 and 2012) and has, on 19 occasions, posted the highest combined grade-point average among all 26 Notre Dame athletics teams for a given semester, most notably a school-record 3.776 GPA in the spring of 2012.
Last season Holt’s mentorship of Emma Albrecht, one of the program’s top all-time players, came to a conclusion. Albrecht boasts the program’s top career stroke average with a 73.38 mark. Albrecht also ranks second in program history for career percentage of rounds counted (.962) and tied the single-season percentage of rounds counted mark in 2017-18 with a 29-for-29 showing (1.000) and in 2018-19 with a 26-for-26 (1.000) effort. She reached the 2019 NCAA East Lansing Regional as she participated in NCAA play for a fourth consecutive season (twice as an individual) and went on to play in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open in Charleston, South Carolina.
During the 2017-18 season, Holt led the Irish back to NCAA Regional play and helped Notre Dame set the program record for lowest single season stroke average (293.50). Playing a challenging schedule, the Irish posted top-five finishes at the Minnesota Invitational and the Clover Cup, while winning the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational for their first tournament win in two years. Notre Dame also had a strong showing at the Schooner Fall Classic, finishing tied for sixth on the strength of a final round 278 (-6), which marked the second-lowest score in program history (just one stroke off the record of 277 carded in the second round of the 2014 Schooner Classic).
As a junior, Albrecht earned co-medalist honors at the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational. At the NCAA Madison Regional, Albrecht birdied three of her final four holes to get to five-under par (67) to finish tied for 11th (73-75-67=215). The 215 marked Notre Dame’s lowest 54 hole total in NCAA play and the tie for 11th was the second best NCAA Regional finish by an Irish golfer. Under Holt’s guidance, Albrecht posted the best single-season stroke average in 2017-18 with a 72.31 mark and now owns the program’s top career stroke average (73.47).
Also in 2017-18, Maddie Rose Hamilton set the program record by shooting a second-round 65 (-6) at the event. The -6 also tied for the lowest round in program history in relation to par.
The Irish finished the 2016-17 season with a 297.59 stroke average, the third lowest single-season stroke average in program history. In addition, then sophomore Albrecht qualified for the NCAA Columbus Regional where she finished tied for 13th.
The Fighting Irish sparkled in 2015-16, posting a 297.16 stroke average and earning a berth in the NCAA Birmingham Regional. What’s more, Notre Dame won two tournaments in the fall of 2015 and finished second at the high-powered Landfall Tradition, defeating 11 ranked opponents (including four top-20 teams) along the way. The Fighting Irish also posted two of the four lowest 54-hole team scores and lowest single-round scores (all relative to par) in school history, and their 30-stroke win at Nebraska’s Chip-N Club Invitational was the program’s largest margin of victory in more than a decade. Thanks to their hot start, the Fighting Irish were rated as high as No. 20 in the Golfstat rankings (March 9).
Notre Dame’s expectation of excellence during the Holt era rose to new heights in 2014-15, as the Fighting Irish registered the aforementioned best single-season stroke average in program history (296.60). Notre Dame also placed in the top 10 in all 10 tournaments it played, including four top-five finishes (three in a row midway through the year, a first for the program since the fall of 2008) and the title at Michigan State’s Mary Fossum Invitational.
In 2013-14, Holt steered Notre Dame to its seventh straight NCAA regional appearance after a strong performance at its first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Notre Dame recorded the third-best score on day three of the tournament to put the team in a tie for fifth place with a 905 (+33) total (306-303-296).
A season earlier in 2012-13, Holt was a part of a Fighting Irish squad that posted the program’s top team stroke average (298.70). Notre Dame also claimed its third BIG EAST Championship in a six-year period during its final season in the league. The Fighting Irish qualified for the NCAA East Regional with their automatic bid, and were strong contenders to advance to the NCAA finals through the first two rounds of the event.
Also in the 2012-13 season, Holt coached the Fighting Irish to their highest mid-season ranking in the history of the program at No. 14, according to Golfstat’s Nov. 14 report and remained steady in the Golfstat Top 25 the majority of the year.
Thanks to Holt’s leadership, then-freshman Lindsey Weaver was tabbed the BIG EAST Player and Freshman of the Year and named to the all-BIG EAST team. Armstrong collected her second straight all-BIG EAST accolade with Talia Campbell joining her after taking co-medalist honors with Weaver at the conference tournament.
In 2010-11, Holt was instrumental in guiding the Fighting Irish to their first-ever NCAA Championship finals appearance and fourth BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame posted a stroke average of 299.70, at the time the lowest in program history and also the first time a Fighting Irish squad broke 300 for a single-season stroke average. All five golfers in the regular lineup still rank in the top 20 in stroke average in program history, with So-Hyun Park, Becca Huffer, Nicole Zhang and Kristina Nhim each earning all-BIG EAST honors. The Fighting Irish also won three regular-season team titles (Mary Fossum Invitational, William K. Warren Irish Invite and John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate), in addition to the BIG EAST Championship.
The 2009-10 campaign marked Notre Dame’s third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Central Regional. The team’s best finish was a second-place tie in the 12-team field at the Alamo Invitational. There, Annie Brophy earned co-medalist honors to become just the sixth golfer in program history to win multiple individual titles, having already captured medalist honors at the 2008 BIG EAST Championship.
Three Notre Dame players earned All-BIG EAST honors in 2010 including Brophy, Katie Conway and Huffer. With her fourth such honor, Brophy became just the second player in program history to earn all-BIG EAST accolades four times.
Teaming with associate head coach Kyle Lynne Demeter to form one of the nation’s elite recruiting tandems, Holt has helped the Fighting Irish welcome some of the finest student-athletes in Notre Dame women’s golf annals. In 2015, Holt attracted a three-player class that was, by all accounts, the strongest in program history (finishing fourth in the nation in the Golfstat freshman class rankings following the 2015-16 season), featuring all three players as consensus top 50 selections by every major junior golf media outlet. In fact, Notre Dame was one of only two schools in the country (along with Georgia) that had three top-50 signees joining its roster in 2015-16.
One of Holt’s early standout recruits, Huffer closed out her brilliant career in 2011-12, finishing with a 75.19 stroke average and parlaying that success into a spot on the Symetra Tour, the top developmental circuit for players aspiring to play on the LPGA Tour. A four-time all-BIG EAST selection, Huffer was a two-time team most valuable player and won the BIG EAST Sports Excellence Award for women’s golf as a senior in 2011-12. She went on the make the LPGA Tour for the 2019 season.
Holt also had helped shape Park’s development, as the South Korea native was a three-time all-BIG EAST selection and earned honorable mention All-America status from Golfweek and the National Golf Coaches Association in 2007-08 under Holt’s watchful eye. Park remains among the top 10 in program history for career stroke average (76.12) and single-season stroke average (73.63 in 2007-08), while her second-round 66 at the 2008 Heather Farr Memorial has stood for the better part of a decade as the school record for a single round (since tied twice).
Holt was introduced as head coach of the University of Notre Dame women’s golf program in August of 2006. She became the second full-time head coach in the history of the Fighting Irish program and the fourth overall since women’s golf became a varsity sport prior to the 1988-89 season.
Holt came to Notre Dame from South Florida after 13 successful seasons guiding the Bulls. Prior to her final season in Tampa, USF joined the BIG EAST and Holt led the Bulls to a tie for third, along with Notre Dame, in their inaugural BIG EAST tournament.
“First and foremost, I was attracted by the opportunity to come to what I believe is the best academic and athletic combination that’s out there,” Holt said on why she decided to come to Notre Dame following a successful run at USF.
“The commitment to the golf program with the course and the new indoor facility makes a statement. As a coach you want to know that you have a chance to be successful and you can tell that’s how it is at Notre Dame and it’s impressive to see that.”
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Holt made a return to the Midwest, where she began her college coaching career at Purdue from 1990-93.
She then took over the USF program in 1993 and led the Bulls to 16 team titles and 17 runner-up finishes, including five of 10 Conference USA Championships. She guided the team and/or individuals to 11 NCAA Regional appearances and trips to the NCAA Championship Finals in 2001 and 2002.
Holt was recognized as the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 1996, 1999 and 2001. In the spring of 2005, Holt was named Conference USA Coach of the Decade for women’s golf (1995-2005). Under Holt’s watch, South Florida players were named to the Conference USA All-Conference Team 23 times. Former LPGA player and South Florida graduate Kelly Lagedrost was named Conference USA Player of the Year while playing for Holt in 2001, and another of Holt’s USF pupils, Christina Jones was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2005.
Prior to college coaching, Holt worked as a club professional in West Palm Beach, Florida, and in Ipswich, Massachusetts. She is a 1988 Ohio State graduate, where she helped the Buckeyes win a pair of Big Ten Conference titles (1985, 1988) and reach the NCAA Championship those same years.
Holt graduated from Fairmont High School in Kettering, Ohio, and has been a member of the PGA of America since 1992.
Holt and her husband, Tim (a Kokomo, Indiana, native) married in 1993 and they are the parents of two children, Justin (who played collegiately at IUPUI) and Kristin (who will be a junior on the women’s golf team at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana in 2018-19). Tim Holt also is a member of the PGA of America and works as a PGA teaching professional in the South Bend area.
— updated July 2019