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IMG Academy Leadbetter golf program Golf student awarded scholarship from Colombia Golf Federation

Juan Veloza is only 15 years-old, but is quite mature for his age. Just ask the 18 year old opponents he has defeated and they will most likely tell you the same thing. He has already won several junior golf tournaments, but quite possibly his greatest accomplishment thus far has been earning the scholarship to attend IMG Academy golf program from the Colombia Golf Federation last August.

Juan Velazo at IMG Academy

Juan is originally from Colombia, but has been to America on numerous occasions to compete in golf tournaments. He enjoys coming to America to compete because of the vast number of courses and great players the country has to offer. Juan notes that Colombia also has plenty of great players but far less courses and tournaments. He feels that the the United States is the "center" of the golf world because all of the greatest players from around the globe come to America to compete with the best. He is big fan of how Tiger Woods plays the game, but loves Ernie Els' swing.

Every year, many young golfers apply to the Colombian Golf Federation for a scholarship to come to America to play golf. Those who apply must meet the Federation's search criteria. Obviously, you must be an excellent golfer, a great student, and have a working knowledge of the English language. For the most part, the Colombia Golf Federation gives this scholarship to a senior student, but Juan is only a sophomore which makes the award additionally impressive. Juan happened to be in America with a host family while playing in a tournament and got a call once the tournament was over. It was his mother on the other line telling him that he had been awarded the scholarship. His family back home was extremely proud of him and once he told his host family the news they rejoiced as well.

His IMG Academy golf program coach, Duncan Smith, has been working with him for a while now and even spent time training with him in Colombia. When Juan got word of the news about earning the scholarship, Duncan was one of the first people he messaged. Duncan was extremely happy for Juan saying,

“I knew what kind of kid he was and how hard he has worked. His work ethic is fantastic and he is so dedicated to everything down here [at IMG Academy>, not just golf. His grades are good and he is getting good reports from the school teachers. He is just generally a nice kid. He fits in with all of the groups, and from a golf standpoint he still has three years remaining here at the Academy so there is no reason why he can't compete in the major American tournaments down the road.”

In his first semester as an Academy student, Juan was victorious in the PARS Florida International Junior Tournament for 13-18 year olds, the Central Florida Junior Classic and the Future Collegiate World Tour both for 13-15 year olds.

He is being educated at The IMG Academy on the IMG Academy' campus and is taking world history, biology, geometry, and two English classes, one being for international students. Biology is one of his favorite classes because he learns so much interesting material, but he enjoys all of his other classes as well.

How has he adjusted to life in America? Just fine. He has made many friends who he hangs out with at the Academy and often goes out to local restaurants with for a bite to eat. Juan also likes to read magazines, specifically golf -related ones (who would have guessed it?) and likes American television series, citing How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family as a few of his favorites.

Juan is already being courted by some schools such as Auburn, Kansas, and South Carolina who have shown interest in him coming to join their programs when he graduates. It seems as if the only thing that may be brighter than Juan's smile and personality is his future.

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