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Annie Huizenga applies golf to life
By Ben Buursma
Anne Huizenga

Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.)

From a recreational golfer to Calvin’s top scorer in just 20 months. That has been the ascent — or backswing — of Annie Huizenga’s competitive golf career. And the sophomore has two more years to demonstrate the downswing and follow-through.

Huizenga, a Hudsonville, Mich., native, first picked up her clubs in middle school but switched to soccer in high school. Girls’ golf wasn’t part of Unity Christian High School’s sports repertoire until her junior year; Huizenga joined the golf squad in the spring of 2002 as a senior. The switch meant she’d have just a season of golf under her belt before the high school-to-college season switch.

“I liked soccer, but I wanted to try golf and get the experience,” Huizenga said. “I thought ‘this is my senior year, and I’m just going to try something different,’ and I’m very glad I did. Golf has just been so fun.

“It was pretty intense going from my senior season in the spring and playing throughout the summer, and then starting the college season in the fall. It was quite an adjustment at first, but I think it really helped with my development.”

Huizenga finished her freshman season with a 93.2 strokes per 18-hole match conference average — 16th in the MIAA. A nice start, and, fortunately for the Knights, Huizenga has drive to match her drive.

“I only played golf my senior year in high school, and that’s when I started to take it seriously,” she said. “I’ve been working hard at improving since then, and I think I’ve improved a lot since freshman year. I’ve lowered my stroke average a bit, and I am getting better at being able to recognize my own mistakes during the matches and correct them.”

In helping the Calvin women’s golf team to a sixth-place MIAA finish this fall, Huizenga helped herself to an All-Conference award. She shaved 2.2 strokes off her average this year to finish with a 91.0 — 12th in the MIAA and good for a spot on the All-MIAA second team.

Though she played well in practice and in the non-conference matches at the beginning of the season, Huizenga didn’t really get a breakthrough round until the final 18 of the season.

“I was pretty disappointed with the way I was playing (in the conference matches), because I knew I could do better. I was pretty consistently around 90 to 93 or 94, and I just wasn’t scoring well,” Huizenga said. “Then, on the final round of the last weekend, I shot an 83 that lowered my average a bit and got me into that last spot on the (All-MIAA) second team. I’m very excited about that.”

Huizenga credits golf coach Jerry Bergsma — who is also her tennis coach — with a great deal of her improvement on the links so far, but the game has also taught her some lessons in life.

“Golf has helped me realize that I have to take things in stride and not get so uptight. For me, perseverance has also been huge. If I’m golfing horribly and have a terrible front nine, I always try to turn it around and have a great back nine. It’s the same in life. Anything I do, I don’t want to look back and be disappointed with my effort, so I give it everything I have.”

Huizenga is working toward an elementary education degree, concentrating in communication and art. She says she loves everything about Calvin and is happy to have found a home in the school both her parents attended.

And what draws Huizenga to golf?

“I like the team aspect in golf. It’s an individual sport, but yet we golf as a team, and we’re competing as a team,” Huizenga said. “And golf is challenging for me, both technically with my swing and also mentally. There can be all kinds of different conditions — it could be rainy or really hot — and every course plays differently. It’s never going to be the same on two different days. I just love the sport.”