Samoan P.G.A. Pro returns to impart skills
On first impressions, it is obvious Scott Puailoa has a big heart.
When we meet only hours after he lands in Samoa from Santa Barbara, he shakes my hand firmly and gets straight into chatting about golf.
Scott Puailoa was born and raised in the United States, and believes he must be the only Samoan to play division one football and golf at the same time.
“I was pretty blessed to be able to do that.”
He says despite Samoan culture skipping his parent’s generation, he has a great love of Samoa and has passionately engaged in coaching in American Samoa at the Troy Polamalu football camps.
“The passion and the love came from the fact that I am part Samoan, I have a Samoan last name, I have a passion for the culture”, he said.
“This is a big deal for me to come down and give back to the kids of Samoa,” he said.
As a young man, Puailoa excelled in five sports, whittling them down to just golf, football and basketball in his college years at San Marcos.
He won a football scholarship to the University of the Pacific, and trained under Pete Carrol who now coaches the Seattle Seahawks.
Puailoa said as well as football, he was able to play golf too, and eventually he landed a job at The Valley Club of Montecito in Santa Barbara.
Then, after just two years as a golf mentor, he was offered the position of head golf professional, making Montecito the club where he would remain for the rest of his career.
“When I went to try and play professionally I didn’t make that first go around, and when I was getting ready to go again, the club hired me as their head golf professional in 1979 and I just stayed there.”
With a wife and a child already in tow, Puailoa settled into the life of a full-time golf professional – working the course, looking after the players that utilise it and running tournaments.
He said he was lucky to be able to continue playing professionally at the same time, which enabled him to go on to succeed in several PGA tournaments.
Last year, he was named Northern Chapter player of the year, and placed third in a March tournament in the northern chapter.
Puailoa has won the award for Growing the Game of golf three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2010.