Vakasioula lines up for a putt at the Redhawk Rumble tournament, Photo Courtesy of Mesa Athletic Department.

Alyzzah Vakasioula up close and personal

At the age of thirteen Alyzzah Vakasioula was at her father’s friend’s house when she saw a golf event being broadcast on television and it piqued her interest; she wanted to give it a try. Little did she know she had just discovered a game she would love and continue to play into college.

Vakasioula is going into her sophomore season on the Mesa Community College women’s golf team. She attended Hamilton High School for her freshman and sophomore years. She transferred to a closer school for her last two years , attending Combs High School where she graduated in 2020. 

Most golfers take up the sport around the age of five years old. Vakasioula picked up the game rather quickly and it surprisingly came naturally to her despite being nearly eight years behind most of the competition she was playing against 

“When I first started it kind of clicked. I knew this is what I wanted to do, everything I did just meshed, everything felt natural,” said Vakasioula,  “From there on out I got myself into competitions and little tournaments to get myself familiar with the field.”

When a casual golf fan is sitting at home and watching a tournament it’s easy to ask the question: “How tough can hitting a ball straight be?” New players to golf learn the answer to that question is very difficult. 

One of the most difficult aspects of golf is the mental drain it can have on a player. Vakasioula understands golf is one of the most challenging sports not only from a physical standpoint, but from a mental standpoint as well. She has matured immensely on the mental side of the sport this last season

“Dealing with the mental aspect of the golf game, it’s kind of like a confidence thing. There’s so much that goes into the game with the technicality that goes into the swing,” said Vakaisoula, “it gets to the point where you start to trust yourself in the process that there isn’t a certain way to swing to get the results that you need.”

According to Vakasioula, short-term memory is important in golf.When she hits a bad shot during play, she only lets it sit in her mind for five seconds or so, then  moves on to her upcoming shot. 

No matter what talent you are born with, practice and dedication are necessary to perfect your game. Vakasioula is extremely dedicated to her craft, practicing every day of the week. When she is not in season, she tries to play four to six hours everyday. Playing a round each day, followed by some drills focused on her short game around the green. 

A big reason Vakasioula is attending MCC is the head golf coach John Guerrero. 

Originally, she had hoped to attend Seattle University after graduating high school. After some unforeseen family circumstances, Vakasioula was unsure of where to attend college. Luckily for her, coach Guerrero was helpful in assisting her to MCC to continue her education and golf career.

“Mesa was the perfect option for me to attend,” Vakasioula said, “not only to go somewhere to keep my education and golf career going, but they have a great program and I feel like I’m still growing my game here and I’ve definitely enjoyed my experience.”

In the 2021 spring and fall seasons, Vakasioula was a force to be reckoned with. She earned 1st team All American honors while having the lowest score on the women’s team.  She helped the Mesa women’s golf team win the 2021 Region I championship. She also tied for 5th place in the 2021 NJCAA Women’s National Championship in May of 2021.

Even with all of her success on the course, Vakasioula is still humbled to know it’s all about her next shot, not her last great one. 

One trait she has that makes her such a great competitor is her drive to be better no matter how well she might be playing that day.

“I’m very competitive within myself,”  said Vakasioula,“I always try to think what I can do to be better, I always have personal goals for myself. Like I want to hit more greens this time or hit more putts than before.”

Like most people, Vakasioula has an idol, someone she looks up to in her field of interest. In her case, the person she looks up to is professional golfer Tony Finau because just like Vakasioula, Finau is also of Tongan descent. 

“He’s been a very inspiring figure for us Polynesians, there hasn’t been a girl Polynesian pro golfer out there so Tony being the first man makes me think maybe I can be the first girl Polynesian golfer,” said Vakasioula. 

In the future, Vakasioula wants to go into the IT field to be involved in cyber security or computer science. This is due to the fact that her father works in the field as well, and for the satisfaction she gets from coding.

“Coding gives me the same high as winning a golf tournament,” said Vakasioula, “I can connect it to like a very rigorous process going through but once you get to your goal it’s like there’s this epiphany.”

With her character and skill set, no matter where she goes in life, Vakasioula will overcome any obstacle like the champion she is and be a great success.

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