Gabi Mendoza didn’t know what to make of her father’s suggestion to try golf. But when the then nine-year old got out onto the course, she knew she had found her sport.
“I wasn’t quite sure about it,” says Mendoza. “Then I started playing, and I was like, wow, I really love this sport.”
The Rosary Academy rising senior and three-year varsity golfer has found a connection with her female peers who are as passionate about the game as she is.
“I love how I get to talk with other girls my age,” says the 17-year-old. “You get to meet so many new people, and it’s just really fun.”
Since high school golfers compete both individually and as a team, Mendoza knows that everyone’s effort counts, and she feels honored to represent Rosary each time she approaches the tee.
“As a team, I hope that we can continue playing at a higher level,” says Mendoza. “I think the greatest thing (about representing Rosary) is being able to express who you are and be yourself. Hanging out with the team is really fun, and I like that we can bond and talk to each other.”
Mendoza uses her positive attitude as part of her leadership style to motivate not only herself and but also her teammates.
“Gabi is the sweetest kid,” says Rosary golf head coach, Steve Hiskey. “However, below that exterior is a great competitor. She is always trying to make her game better. She is intense during our inter-squad drills and contests, and she is all about her team and teammates.”
Patience and confidence in her game are two areas the La Mirada resident feels are a continual work in progress.
“Being patient is number one for me,” says Mendoza. “Also, being able to believe in myself and know that I’m capable of playing golf well. I definitely have worked on being more confident within myself. I’ve had trouble with that. In golf, if you hit one bad shot, you can think it’s over. But it’s really not. There’s a long way to go.”
As a Rosary Royal, Mendoza’s faith plays a role in her camaraderie with her teammates and her focus on the course.
“Before each match, we pray together, and that brings us a lot of comfort because we know God is there with us,” says Mendoza. “We don’t ask a lot, but we ask for no injuries, to play safe and have fun.”
Mendoza would like to pursue playing golf at the collegiate level, possibly on the east coast. She is grateful for the support from her parents through the ups and downs that exist within the sport.
“My parents [have] always supported me,” says Mendoza. Whenever I’m not happy with how I’ve played, they know I played to the best of my ability. They are still proud of me, no matter what.”