International Students Double As Rising Golf StarsThe Professional Golfers Career College is known for educating the future leaders in the word of golf, but don’t be fooled; there are current leaders already among our student body. Take for example, Juan Echenique and Guido Vidotto. These 2 natives of Argentina have a deep seated love for golf, and they come by it honestly. Both Juan’s brother and Guido’s uncle are great players, in fact, Rafael Echenique, Juan’s brother, who is currently on the European Tour, represented Argentina in the 2009 World Cup, and competed in this year’s Open Championship.
Accomplished family aside, both Juan and Guido, a sophomore and a freshman, respectively, are extremely talented in their own right, and they’ve got events to back it up. In 2004 Juan participated in the World Golf Junior Optimist, finishing 35th; and in 2009 and 2010 Echenique was ranked the # 1 amateur golfer in the West / Central region of Argentina. Guido has competed internationally representing South America as a junior golfer, and 2011 was a huge year for him. In 2011, he became the Members Club Champion, and won two individual tournaments for the South/East Golf Federation Team, ranking 3rd…after only having played the game for 5 years.
Juan began playing when he was about six-years old, and Guido, while he’s only been at it for about five years, has tremendous natural skill, which has allowed him to sidestep some of those years. It’s clear that the boys love golf, and know where they their careers to go, which is why they opted to attend PGCC. Vidotto shared “I picked the game of golf little bit late, so to speak, just about 5 years ago. Last year I was offered to enter PGCC thru Bill Picca and, sincerely, the whole experience has been well beyond my expectations.”
In fact, both Guido and Juan began their journey here through Bill Picca, a golf professional and former faculty member at PGCC. After discovering the college through conversations with Picca, the boys eventually travelled over 8,000 miles to attend. According to Vidotto “This unique opportunity of studying business and golf at the same time is awesome; speaking in golfing terms, it is like scoring an eagle, and then a double-eagle back to back!”
Picca, and President and Founder of PGCC, Dr. Tim “Doc” Somerville, have a great affection for the two young golfers. Doc gushed, “These are just two of the greatest guys you’re ever going to meet. They’re so nice, just such good guys.” And Bill Picca couldn’t agree more, “These guys are nice, and they’re really, really good golfers!” Speaking about why he encouraged these students to travel thousands of miles to attend the golf college he says simply, “I had a dream like this as a kid, and I never had the opportunity. So I say to myself, ‘it would be selfish of me to have been able to come to the U.S. and become a golf professional, and not to give back to the game, or find a way to help kids who are out there right now dreaming the same way that I did.’”
Talking with the boys about their experience coming to PGCC, gratitude is the most prevalent sentiment that will color your conversation; actually, it will knock you over. Echenique shares wholeheartedly, “To be studying at PGCC is the most important and exciting life-changing experience of my golfing career. I do not have words to express my gratitude to Dr. Somerville, and the faculty and staff who constantly give me support and courage.”
It’s that last bit about courage that illuminates a major reality of their situation; they’re a long way from home. Sure, students go off to college far from home every year, but one could make an argument that traveling to an entirely different country and culture, requires a slightly more significant adjustment than mileage alone can account for. Guido Vidotto can attest to this, “It was quite a challenging situation for a young person like me to leave my family, my country and my friends to be part of a different culture. It was a little bit of a scary decision for me, but once I got to the college, Dr. Somerville, the staff, faculty and my classmates have made me feel like I’m at home.”