Alexandra Gazzoli had time to kill on Nov. 8 before the start of her second round in the Class 2A state high school golf championships, so she signed her letter of intent to play golf at Florida State University.
Matanzas High School held a signing ceremony for Gazzoli on Nov. 15 in the gym lobby. Her family, teammates and coaches celebrated the culmination of Gazzoli’s lifelong dream.
“It’s something she’s wanted for years and years and years,” said her father, Robert Gazzoli.
Alexandra’s father and her brothers, Christian and Blaine, all graduated from Florida State.
“I remember the first (FSU) football game I went to, I was like 8 or something,” Alexandra said. “So, I've been a fan my whole life, and I've always been around people who are fans. So, I pretty much always wanted to go there.”
FSU women’s golf coach Amy Bond said in a signing day story on the school’s athletic website that she was excited to sign Gazzoli.
“This is one of the most special recruiting moments of my career, as Florida State was Alexandra's dream school,” Bond said. “She is the whole package; we cannot wait to have her on campus. She is extremely talented, and we are looking forward to watching her succeed. Not only will she be great on the golf course, but she will be an exceptional Seminole ambassador.”
I'm really happy with the decision I made. And I'm really grateful to be going there.”
— ALEXANDRA GAZZOLI
Alexandra was not quite 8 when she began playing competitive golf and when Robert and Sheila Gazzoli hired Anne Cain, a master instructor with the PGA Tour Golf Academy at World Golf Village, to be their daughter’s swing coach. Cain has been working with her ever since as Gazzoli has moved up the junior golf ranks.
At 12, she qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National. In high school, she has finished among the top four at the Class 2A state championships four years in a row. She won the state championship as a junior in 2022. She won her first American Junior Golf Association tournament earlier that year. And this past summer, she won the Florida Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
“I kind of surprised myself when I won,” she said of the women's amateur championship at TPC Treviso Bay in Naples. “I knew I was playing really well, but it was just kind of a great week. There was really just ups, there was no ups and downs.There were no negatives to that week.”
Gazzoli, whose home course is Hammock Dunes, has been playing golf since she was 2 years old.
“It was a family thing,” her mother, Sheila, said. “She was there and she just took to it,”
Robert, who played golf at Flagler Palm Coast High School, started working with her and has continued to practice with her ever since.
“Early on, we said, ‘She has some natural ability, and she likes to practice,’” Robert said. “Some days when she was young, we’d be out there six to eight hours.”
“My dad has always helped me,” Alexandra said. “Sometimes it goes by fast, sometimes not so much, but I enjoy practicing. I think it's a lot of fun. I guess now I have more quality over quantity, so I think my practice schedule is getting a lot better over the years.”
She has always been a great ball striker and a strong competitor, Robert said.
Alexandra is a student at Florida Virtual School. She joined the Matanzas golf team partly for the social aspect, to be part of a team.
Matanzas girls golf coach Brandie Alred said Gazzoli could have easily just showed up for matches and practiced on her own, but she attended practices and became the team's leader.
“I've gotten to see Alexandra grow as a person,” Alred said. “Just watching from her freshman year coming in, she was very shy, not really talking to anybody. And by the end, she was the absolute leader on this team. Just to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to come play with people that may have just started playing golf, and I’m going to share my talent and do it in a humble way.’”
Gazzoli committed to Florida State a year ago. She took visits to other schools to keep an open mind, Robert said.
“It solidified her decision,” Sheila said, “that ultimately she wanted to be in Tallahassee and play for Florida State.”
The Seminoles are one of four teams that have advanced to each of the last seven NCAA Women’s Championship Finals, finishing fifth the last two years.
“I'm really happy with the decision I made,” Gazzoli said. “And I'm really grateful to be going there. The facilities are amazing. The coaches and the rest of the team are really great, and overall they just always had a great program, making it to the national championship. And I would like to be able to be a part of that one day.”