The greens were supple, the fairways were lush and vibrant and the rough was thick and unforgiving. During countless warm and lazy summer days of his youth Michigan senior Christian Vozza would pile in a golf cart with his father and brother, taking on the links of Traverse City. Vozza’s dad was his primary teacher and supporter, while his brother was his role model and motivator.
By third grade, Vozza was competing in local tournaments around northern Michigan. Despite success coming early, he kept trying to improve in these competitions through high school. Vozza’s natural and smooth swing along with his aggressive play caught the eye of various college scouts. When offered a scholarship to Michigan, Vozza accepted because for him, this was an opportunity that he just could not turn down.
“I have always loved the Wolverines,” Vozza said. “I was a good student through high school, so I aspired to attend a university with excellent academics. Since Michigan also had a top-notch golf program, it was easily the best fit for me.”
Vozza opened his college career with great focus and aggressive play, and right away he impressed coach Andrew Sapp.
“When he arrived at Michigan, I had never really heard of (Vozza),” Sapp said. “But I noticed that he came to school ready to play on the collegiate level.”
But there were times when his desire to smash the ball got him in trouble. During one qualifying round his freshman year at the Michigan Golf Course, Vozza whacked a terrible tee shot into the rough. From there, the pin was about 240 yards, just past a water hazard. Vozza decided to take a chance with a shot over the hazard, aiming for the green rather than laying up right in front of the hazard for a clear third shot at the pin. After his strike, his ball sliced and caught the wind, sailed over the clubhouse and landed right in front of his coach.
Vozza realized that he had to improve his shot selection, and, in doing so, his play matured. He began hitting smarter shots and improved his mental game, which added to his success. Some of his best shots followed his worst shots, when he ended up saving himself for a par or even a birdie.
“Golf is a mental game,” Vozza said. “It’s all about you. When you are out on the course, you can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The key to the game is never giving up and realizing that your next shot can be the best one of your life. Consistently getting down on yourself for every mistake that you commit will ruin the game for you.”
Sapp said: “Vozza is a free spirit on the golf course. He is one of those players who does not let a bad shot affect him. He has learned to get up and down from what others consider junk. The younger guys on the team take notice of this.”
Recently Vozza has stepped into the leadership role on the team as an ambassador for Michigan golf. Not only is he a fierce competitor out on the links, but he also models a positive and constructive attitude. Vozza is known to never take the fun out of the game.
“For the past two years, Vozza has lead our stroke average,” Sapp said. “But he is more than that. He is an extremely joyful person. He knows that the game is serious but also knows the time and place for having fun and enjoying life. The younger guys have definitely picked up on this great balance.”
As for his last year as a Wolverine, Vozza plans on making the most of his amateur status and improving his game as much as possible. After Michigan, Vozza hopes to compete in qualifying tournaments for professional tours. Since winning the Michigan Amateur Championship, along with other recent solid play, Vozza’s professional ambitions can very likely become a reality. And Sapp fully supports this.
“If Vozza has the desire and the drive to play professionally, then I hope he goes for it. He should continue to reach for his dreams just as he did coming into Michigan.”
No matter if Vozza goes pro or falls back on his Michigan education, he will continue pursuing his passion.
“Golf is the greatest game I have ever played,” Vozza said. “I will play it for the rest of my life, one shot at a time.”