By Tommy Reinking, The Daily Iown
While most of the players on the Iowa men’s golf team hail from such Midwestern states as Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, freshman Voramate Aussarassakorn’s home is much, much farther away - Around 8,541 miles.
Aussarassakorn is from Bangkok, Thailand, and he has been on the links since he was 8 years old.
Since that young age, golfing in the United States has always been his ambition.
“My goal is to come to the U.S. and become a professional golfer,” he said.
The international player first showed up on the Hawkeyes recruiting radar this past summer when he competed in numeorus tournaments in Illinois.
“He played in about six tournaments that we saw him in,” Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said. “He finished in the top five or six and got us to notice him.”
Aussarassakorn is the first international player Hankins has coached in his six years at the helm of the Hawkeye golf team.
Iowa wasn’t the only team interested in Aussarassakorn. Hankins said that the 18-year-old also visited Northwestern, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State.
Aussarassakorn said the university and the team were the main factors in his decision to play for the Hawkeyes.
While he’s playing the same game as he did at home, he said, the courses in Thailand and America do have their fair share of differences. Adjusting to this has been one of the more challenging factors in his game.
“The greens here are faster,” the finance major said. “In Thailand, they are a lot slower. The slopes are more steep as well. In Thailand, the courses are more open, and here they’re not.”
As for the other parts of life in the United States, Aussarassakorn’s roommate and teammate Landon Kowalski said he’s adjusted well.
“I can’t imagine coming to a new country,” the freshman from Buffalo Grove, Ill. said. “The hardest part would be trying to communicate and learn a new language, but he’s doing really well.”
Aussarassakorn wasn’t in either starting five that went to Iowa’s first two tournaments, but Hankins said he’s still serving a big role on the team.
“Like any good freshman, he’s competitive,” Hankins said. “He helps us prepare for other teams, and he can compete for the starting five. We don’t recruit anyone who doesn’t have a chance at starting.”
Aussarassakorn is patiently waiting for his chance to compete as a Hawkeye. His plan for a career in golf doesn’t end at the college level, however.
If he can’t maintain a career in the United States, he plans to return to Thailand to become a professional golfer in his homeland.
Kowalski had only positive things to say about his roommate and his golf skills.
“I’ve played with him a few times,” Kowalski said. “He’s pretty good. He has the potential to be a really good golfer.”
Aussarassakorn said that the people he’s met here as well as support from his parents have made acclimating to golf, and life, in America relatively easy.
“Everyone is kind,” Aussarassakorn said.