Sophomore ready to lead Lady golfers to lofty goals

Arrianna Rocha describes golf as a mental workout in addition to the physical exercise the game offers. She hopes to lead the Panthers to state this spring. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Arrianna Rocha describes golf as a mental workout in addition to the physical exercise the game offers. She hopes to lead the Panthers to state this spring. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By Lauren Jette

The great golf legend Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.”

For Liberty Hill sophomore golfer Arrianna Rocha, that inability to pin down every nuance is precisely why she enjoys golf.

“That’s why I like this game,” she explained.

“One day, you can do really well, lights out, and the next day, it’s like, ‘oh, what happened? I don’t even know’.”

While that inconsistency might drive some away, Rocha enjoys the mental workout that comes with playing such a fickle sport.

“I know a lot of people say it’s boring to play golf. It’s only boring if you watch it,” she said. “Some people are like, ‘you’re calling me boring?’ even though I’m watching it. If you go out and play, I think it’s because it deals with your mind. It strengthens your mind. You have to think about the club choice, how far you hit the club, or the wind, so it involves your mind a lot.

“It gives you good physical exercise too, because you walk courses with a 30-pound, 20-pound bag on your back,” she added.

Since being introduced to the sport in 2007 by her father, Rocha has honed her skills enough to be one of the Lady Panthers best golfers, shooting a 69 in Lampasas in early February and an 81 in Salado the first week in March. Rocha moved to Texas from Hawaii in 2006, and spent time in other school districts in the area before settling in at Liberty Hill.

“I think I fit in a lot more here. We moved around Texas before I got here and I’ve been in Liberty Hill for four years, so it’s been a little bit different, but good,” Rocha said.

“I like that it’s a small town community. In Hawaii, you’re just all over the place and the other schools I went to, like Leander, Austin ISD, they were big, so (Liberty Hill) hasn’t really boomed yet, so there’s still a good, small-town vibe.”

While Liberty Hill doesn’t have its own golf course, Rocha doesn’t let that keep her from getting practice in at Delaware Springs in Burnet or Crystal Falls in Leander, depending on what she wants to work on.

“Outside of school, I compete in tournaments twice a month, three times a month and practice is almost every day, with Fridays and Sundays off,” Rocha said.

So how does Rocha describe her golf game?

“Interesting, let’s go with that,” she said with a laugh. “With my golf game, I’ve noticed it changes every two to three years. I can do really well in one area and completely bad in another. And then two years later, do good in the area where I was doing bad before.

“Now, I’m doing really good at hitting the ball off the tee and putting, which are two opposite spectrums. Before it was approach shots to the green and chipping.”

On the course, Rocha prefers to keep a laid-back attitude instead of being super serious.

“I know some people set this certain goal, ‘I’m going to do this’. I have that in the back of my head, right then, when I step in the first box or meet my competitors,” Rocha said.

“I like to have fun when I golf, I don’t like serious golf. I will talk to you and if I talk too much, you can tell me to be quiet because I talk a little too much.”

“I did both,” she added. “I would talk too much and get deep in a conversation and play, eh and then when I was too serious and stayed stone cold-faced, it wasn’t fun for me so I’d always have a headache or be stressed out, but now it’s kind of balanced out, so I talk a little bit more.”

Despite the fact that she doesn’t have the nicest, fanciest set of clubs, Rocha is still one of the top golfers in her age group in the area.

“I think that it’s a rich person sport. With golf, you have to have a lot of money to do it. Fancy clubs, fancy clothes,” she said. “It’s different, but because I’ve been in it for so long, people know, like in Austin, people know, ‘this is Arrianna, even though she doesn’t have a lot of money, she still plays well’.

“And that’s what matters, as long as you don’t worry about where you came from, you can strive to do anything.”

With that attitude, come lofty goals from the sophomore, not just for herself but for her team as well.

“Goals for the future…go to college on a golf scholarship,” she said. “I don’t care where. If anyone wants me, they can have me. I have Texas A&M in mind.

“Goal for this season is to make it to state. Even though that’s a long ways away, I think I can make it and I think our team could make it too.”

The first step on that path will be at the district meet April 4-5 in Burnet the first day, and Salado the second day.