When you’re a 13-year-old girl, the summer months between seventh and eighth grade can be filled with a lot of fun in the sun. Maybe a little golf as well as some time with friends at the pool. And there’s so much more to check out. Then there’s 13-year-old Alessandra Carranza who, along with her family, is about to make a move that will change her life. –By Bill Bowman, www.LasVegasGolfInsider.com
Carranza’s family is making the move from Las Vegas to Florida this summer where she has been awarded a Women In Sports Committee scholarship to the prestigious IMG Academy.
It was a shock to Carranza when she learned she had earned the five-year, full-ride scholarship but it’s something she’s been working toward for a couple of years.
“I first started looking at IMG two years ago,” she said of the Bradenton, FL, school. “I love how the golf and the school are set up and it’s something I wanted to pursue.”
The reasoning is simple. She wants to be challenged on the golf course as well as in the classroom.
“I really love school,” she said. “Academics are so important to me and this mixes the two together so well.”
The days at the academy are split with school taking up half of the day and golf the other half.
“It’s definitely going to take some adjustment but I’m anxious for this to happen,” she said.
Carranza said the family was looking to make a move and this certainly helped the process.
That said, she added the nerves are kicking in just a little.
“It’s going to be exciting,” she said of the change. “The golf and academics are going to be great and I do like the beach. The one hard part is going to be living in the dorms away from my family. But I know I will get used to it.”
She credits the SNJGA for their efforts as she moves forward.
“I’ve been playing the SNJGA events for awhile and I always have fun with it,” she said.
And her biggest takeaway from her days with the SNJGA might surprise people.
“There were a couple of things that really stick with me,” she said. “We got to play a lot of great courses which was always fun and exciting. And they always talked about honesty and what that means and hearing that was a big influence for me.”
It also didn’t hurt to add the SNJGA brand onto her applications.
“When I was doing the letters, I always brought up the SNJGA and how much of an impact they had on me,” she said. “They played such a big role in where I am.”
Now it’s time for the next step in her life.
“I was so shocked I couldn’t put anything into words,” she said of hearing she had been awarded the scholarship. “It’s where I’ve wanted to go for a long time.”
And there are at least two reasons she had this as a golf destination.
“Two of my favorite golfers went there,” she said. “Nelly and Jessica Korda are both my role models and to see how they have progressed is impressive.”
She would love to see herself on the LPGA Tour down the line but also has other goals in mind…golf-related, of course.
“I do want to go to a good college to play golf,” she said, “And then maybe design some golf courses.”
She’s already whetted her design appetite as she studies courses she has played along the way.
“All of the (Las Vegas) Paiute courses are an inspiration,” she said. “I just love the water holes plus all of their skinny, curvy fairways. I like having to work hard to score on a golf course and the Paiute courses are very challenging in that way.”