As the saying goes, the third time really was the charm for Italian native Anna Zanusso. Anna recently won the ANNIKA Invitational Europe by three strokes after shooting a final round 66, her best of the tournament. This was Anna’s third time competing in the event and it is safe to say she was confident and comfortable the entire week, carding a tournament total of 209. We spoke with Anna shortly after her ANNIKA Invitational Europe win and here’s what she had to say.
Who is your favorite music group or singer?
I really like listening to commercial music, but my favorite singer is Tiziano Ferro, an Italian singer-songwriter.
What do you do for fun outside of playing golf?
I usually watch films in the evening to relax after a busy day and during the weekend, I go out with my friends.
What was your favorite part about playing in the ANNIKA Invitational Europe (besides winning)?
From spending some time with my team to the organization and my game, it was simply the best week. My favorite part was attending Annika’s clinic and players’ dinner the night before the tournament. They created such a unique atmosphere.
How and why did you start playing golf?
I started playing golf when I was eight thanks to my father. Every Sunday, after my skating competition, I would have lessons with my coach. Eventually, I decided to leave skating and tennis and dedicate my free time to golf. I was lucky that my sister and my dad always played with me. When I started playing in tournaments, I met some fantastic people and we became close friends with a lot of them. Now, because of golf, every day is a new adventure.
Who is your biggest role model and why?
My parents are my role models. My father introduced me to golf and followed along with me at all of my tournaments, supporting me every day. He taught me many things, and each day I learn something new from him. My mum is also a role model because she is a strong woman and an anchor for the family. Both of them are essential parts of my life.
What is one thing that many people don’t know about you?
When I was a child, my dream was to become a famous skater, but of course, my dreams have changed along the way.
What do you think can be done to continue growing women’s golf in Europe and around the world?
I think the first thing is to promote golf as a sport not only for old men but also for women and children. One way should be to show more women’s tournaments on television. Also, golf federations should promote golf in schools, trying to organize trips to golf courses to play.
What is your go to snack/meal before you play a round of golf?
When I play in the morning, I have a filling breakfast with some bread with jam and yogurt with cereal. However, when I play in the afternoon, I usually eat pasta. Then, when I’m on the course I eat two bananas and two energy bars.
What is your warm-up routine like?
My warm-up routine is the same before each round. I arrive at the golf course 1h and 15 minutes before my tee time and I start with 15 minutes of putting. Then 5 minutes of stretching and 40 minutes on the practice range. Then another 5 minutes of putting and I’m ready to start the round.
What was your favorite golf tournament you have played in so far?
The ANNIKA Invitational Europe is my favorite event I’ve played in so far. I’ve played it three times and it is always perfectly organized, with many volunteers that help you with transportation. The best part is Annika’s clinic. I’ve learned so many things about her career and about how to prepare for a tournament thanks to her advice.
How do you balance being a student and playing golf? What is the hardest part about it?
It’s difficult to balance being a student and playing golf. The last part of the year is the most difficult as there are many national and international tournaments at the same time as all my final tests. Fortunately, my teachers try to help me by planning all final-year tests in a few weeks. Every year I make a time table with tests, tournaments and trainings and this program helps me a lot.
In your own words, please describe why you love the game of golf.
Golf is the most difficult sport. You will never know how your next shot or tournament will go. Playing golf means working hard, not only on the golf course, but also in the gym and with your coaches. Golf can give you so much satisfaction as well as many disappointments, but for this reason it pushes you to improve every day. Thanks to this fantastic sport, I met a lot of fantastic people and visited many wonderful places. I can’t imagine my life without golf.
How important is fitness to your game? Do you have any fitness tips or routines that you use that you can share with us?
Fitness is one of the most important aspects of training. I go to the gym two or three times a week, trying to improve muscle, aerobics and mobility. Good muscles and mobility help keep the swing stable and constant. Aerobic exercise helps you not get too tired during the longest races and keep your heartbeat under control when you are under pressure.
Why do you think people should play golf even if they are not good enough to play competitively?
I think people should play golf because it is a nice way to spend free time. The more you play, the better you can improve and then you can play a few tournaments and improve scores. All people should try to play golf at least once in their life, because as soon as you try, you will fall in love.
Anna is competing in the 2018 European Girls’ Team Championship this week for the first time. She is representing her country, Italy, which is currently leading after the first round of the tournament. In addition to this event, she will play in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship in Slovakia and the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship in Northern Ireland. She will round out her summer schedule with two team events in Italy. After graduating in 2019, Zanusso will attend the University of Denver. When asked what the best piece of advice she ever received was, she shared with us an expression her coach sent her before a tournament last year: “Golf is about how well you accept, respond to and score with your misses much more than it is a game of your perfect shots.”
Best of luck to Anna this summer, and we look forward to following her throughout her career!