She had not yet seen five springs when her parents began sharing with her a passion that she has not been able to shake off in the intervening 13 years. Golf has taken root in the life of Valentina Albertazzi, one of the many young people living and playing golf on the Costa del Sol. Of course, she is not just any amateur - on the contrary. In just one month - between December and January- she won two major international titles (CJGA World Junior Challenge and Global Junior Golf Grand Final) and was second in another global competition (Junior Honda Classic), all of them played in the U.S.
Last year she won seven times and tallied 16 top-10 finishes in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), which gives an idea of her phenomenon talent.
Officially registered with the federation by Atalaya Golf, where her parents are members, and sponsored by the Costa del Sol club and Holiday Golf Group, Valentina was born in Turin 17 years ago and moved to Spain eight years ago with her parents and sister. The family settled on the Costa del Sol for various reasons. One of them was that the girls could study in other languages, and another reason was the quantity and quality of golf courses and the excellent climate in this major tourist destination, which allows golfers to play throughout the year.
Valentina started competing at eight years of age and has not stopped progressing since then. With a plus-three handicap, she plays whenever she can with her sister, 12 years old and handicap-six.
What was the first important championship you won?
I would say the one that enabled me to enter the world rankings, the Andalucian U-25 Championship a year and a half ago. Earlier I had won others, but they did not count for the ranking.
How was your experience playing the Junior Honda Classic on a US PGA Tour stage like the PGA National?
The course is very difficult, very demanding, because it is prepared for professionals, but I had a great time. It was a shame that I miscalculated on a couple of holes and that's why I didn’t win, but it was a good experience for me.
What are your plans for next year, once you finish the Baccalaureate (high school)?
My plans are to go to a university in the United States, to the one in Fort Lauderdale (Florida), to finish my studies and from there to try to play and obtain a card on the LPGA Tour, when I’m 23.
Does that university have a good golf team?
-Yes, they are the first in the second division rankings and have a program that is the 27th best in the United States. The university is private; it’s not too big and it’s very good.
We guess you'll receive a scholarship thanks to your sporting results...
Yes, I have a complete scholarship and it's an offer that was very good. I'm very happy and eager to start.
Let’s talk about your game… Which clubs do you handle best?
My best clubs are the driver and putter. Not that I have a club I don’t play well, because I actually have a fairly balanced game. I play very well with the driver and I love putting; I could spend hours putting.
How many hours a day do you usually practise?
It depends on exams, but I try to practise an average of three hours a day when I have school, and in summer and when I'm on holiday, a little more, four or five hours.
Who are your favourite players?
Among the men it’s clearly Tiger Woods, who is the player most responsible for golf’s rise in popularity, and among the women I love how Lexi Thompson plays.
What do you do in your free time when you are not practising or playing golf?
I like fashion and music, I like to relax, to be with my friends, but you actually don’t have much free time when playing golf.