Senior golfer Luke Vivolo reminds students to believe. Continuing the season with a 72.00 stroke average, one of UC Davis’s most valuable golfers Vivolo sat down with the Aggie to discuss his history, inspirations and plans for going professional.
We’re all wondering: How did you get into golf?
My dad plays golf professionally. He does that for a living. And my brother, who is 4 ½ years older than me, played golf at Cal. Growing up, my dad just threw me in tournaments. I would just go with my brother into tournaments as the youngest kid. So the worst player – that was me! And I was with a couple of other friends who are now playing college golf.We were the youngest kids and we traveled to all of these Northern California tournaments. I started doing that when I was 7. But I started playing golf and going to the range with my dad since I could walk. I’ve been doing it forever. It has always been my thing.
What is your most rewarding memory in golf?
Getting the scholarship here was pretty rewarding. I was playing well as a junior golfer but there’s so much competition and I knew that I wanted to stay in California and go to a top program. I have so many goals….What I’ve accomplished is awesome, but I feel like I haven’t accomplished nearly what I look forward to accomplishing.
What are you looking forward to doing this year?
I want to win this year. I want to be an All American this year – these next two years. Those are two things that are in the back of my mind.
How much do you practice?
During the summer, I’m practicing all day. Whether it’s working out, or doing yoga. I do yoga to stay limber. I’ll do that during the summer when I’m golfing all day, every day. During school, with my schedule, I can practice from 1-4 p.m. or 1-5 p.m. During the weekend it’s anywhere from 4-7 hours.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My dad and I have a special relationship. He is my biggest fan. He doesn’t push me; it’s more of like encouragement, and we go out to get better. I [also] looked up to my brother a lot, growing up, because he was older and doing a lot of good things. I have a team of people: my dad, my swim coach, just a bunch of people that help advise me.
What’s the plan after college?
I’m going to be playing more golf. Professionally. [After graduation] I’ll have all of Spring to be a golfer – just a golfer – and then I’ll turn pro sometime after that.
Should we expect to see you on TV sometime?
That’s the goal! You gotta believe it. You don’t have to say it to everyone, but you’ve got to believe it. Otherwise, there’s no point in doing it.
Do you have any advice for athletes looking to go pro?
Everyone’s going to say that you have to work hard, that’s a given. But be optimistic and always look at things that happen to you as a chance to get better. You can have a bad game, but you have to find a couple of things that could make you better. Go home, watch a bunch of videos, and find something to practice tomorrow. I’ve always wanted to push for more, and that’s how it is. You have to be optimistic and happy with what you do, while also continuing to strive.
What would you say to those individuals who have yet to regard golf as an actual sport?
It’s not a high impact sport, but you can play golf for your whole life. I think most of the people saying that are playing a sport that they won’t be playing for the rest of their lives. Golf is mentally challenging. It’s a grind. You get the same emotions when playing basketball and football as when you’re playing golf. It’s just a different mentality. You feel nerves on the first tee. You have to be able to calm yourself, slow your heartbeat. It’s the same kind of thing as you see in high intensity sports. I consider golf a sport because you focus on nutrition and fitness so much. You can look at a guy like Rory Mcilroy and Tiger, and they’re athletes. There’s no disputing that they’re athletes. It’s a slower sport, but that’s what brings in the mental aspect of the sport. If it’s not a sport, it’s the toughest game. Whatever it is.
Looking forward to the continuing to play the toughest game, Vivola and UC Davis’s Men’s Golf return to action next week in Waikoloa, Hawaii in the 24th Annual Amer Ari Invitational.