Playing golf is hard enough. But try attending college at the same time.
For those who think competitive golf and studies don’t mix, a Filipina teenage hotshot proves it otherwise.
Despite the demands of college life, top junior golfer Monique Arroyo is looking at even more hours of golf at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
The 18-year-old already pictures it in her mind: “Yes absolutely, if I am not studying, I will be on the golf course, gym or using any other athletic facility my school offers.”
After all, her coach encourages her to play at least five times a week. But the erstwhile International School Manila stalwart knows too well to have balance in her young life.
“I’ve been a student-athlete ever since grade school. My parents always emphasized the importance of being a well-rounded student. I went to academically challenging primary and secondary schools so I was naturally forced into putting my studies first then golf second,” Arroyo told Tribune Golf.
An Honors scholar and recipient of the limited merit-based scholarship at Occidental, she sure puts the same amount of diligence in her school work as she does on the golf course.
“Since I live quite far, I start doing my homework in the car ride. Another option is that I wait for traffic to pass before going home, shower, then do whatever I have to do outside of golf in the clubhouse. I have a time table in my planner scheduling all my activities each day of the week,” Arroyo recalled.
“When a specific task is given, I work on it immediately even if the due date is still far so I can get it over with and brainstorm ideas for my required output. I do my best to avoid procrastination as it hinders my abilities to perform well which affects my grade, working at the proper pace is key. Time management is really crucial in order to succeed,” she said.
That smarts allowed Arroyo to succeed at a young age, winning titles here and abroad. But she knows it’s going to be a lot tougher as she moves along in life.
“It will be an intense schedule while balancing my scholastic endeavors. I look forward to taking my game to the next level as I will be competing in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, one of the toughest D3 conferences in America,” she said.
Before that, the daughter of Philippine jungolf’s godfather, former Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, will see action in the IMG World Juniors in San Diego. She will compete in the girls’ 15-18 division alongside Alethea Gaccion, Reese Ng, Anya Cedo and Grace Quintanilla.
Her clarity will play a big part in that campaign.
“My goal is to be the best player I can possibly be contributing to leading my team into breaking records and hopefully an appearance in the NCAA championships in 2024,” she said.
‘When a specific task is given, I work on it immediately even if the due date is still far so I can get it over with and brainstorm ideas for my required output.’
“I’m very excited for the spirit and support I will be receiving from a new atmosphere especially being in California presenting unparalleled opportunities for me. Occidental is one of the top liberal art colleges in the US so there are high standards for student-athletes.”
Having played here and stateside, Monique gets to appreciate the conditions both countries offer.
“I grew up playing in the Philippines, my home course being Wack Wack Golf and Country Club,” she said.
“When I wanted international exposure and had an idea what I wanted to do in college golf in California, I focused competing there. The climate there is quite different along with the competition being more difficult.”
Of course, playing in the States means you have to take care of yourself and everything you need on the course. But the grand-daughter of former Philippine president and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo doesn’t mind it all.
“I like being faced with new golf courses and situations as it challenges my golf management skills. In the US, no caddies nor carts are allowed all days of the duration of the tournament so you’re really in charge of the direction of your game,” she explained.
Monique added: “Both countries exemplify the true beauty of the game of golf in their own unique ways.”
Very well said.