Chiara, 12, is a match for the grown-ups
Playing off a handicap of six, Chiara Noja beat a scratch golfer in the semi-final of her County Championships and
only just missed out on winning the final.
The Sandy Lodge golfer tells us why she prefers playing with adults, and how different her life would be without golf…
Chiara says: “I started playing golf when I was three. My dad got me into it, but to be honest for the first year I was just lying on the fairways building dens out of the umbrellas in the summer.
In the beginning I just found golf so confusing, but over the years I have really started to like it and I’ve realised that it’s going to help me with my future.
It’s really enjoyable and it teaches you so many life lessons, like that everything you want in life you need to work for. It also shows you that mistakes need to be learnt from and that you can’t repeat the same thing over and over again because then you will never improve. You need a good mentally in golf just like you do in life.
Golf has definitely made me more confident. It has made me as a person. If I didn’t play golf, I would probably be one of those people who just watch movies all day. My life would be so different.
I base a lot of my life around golf. I have an amazing coach and I work on my game every day. I’ll practice putting in my backyard or in my living room, or I’ll go to the course and do some challenges and then play 18 holes and try to focus on a different aspect of my game.
The ladies at my club are very welcoming and I really enjoy playing with them. Some of the juniors in my club are very good but they are a lot older than me so sometimes I kind of struggle to fit in.
I enjoy playing with the ladies because they are a bit more mature and they have been playing a lot longer. Sometimes they have very useful advice to give me. It’s a nice feeling when they say how well I’m doing. I play lots of rounds with a girl who is 18 and we chat lots and she is a really lovely.
Sometimes it’s annoying that people judge my golf on my age; I don’t think that age really matters in golf. If I go on to play professionally it won’t be ranked by age, so I don’t think it matters who I play with now. I can play with a 41 year old and they won’t have any more or less of an advantage than I do.
I really love Rory McIlroy. He came from a family who wasn’t the richest and he had to work for what he has and that’s very inspiring. A true attitude is working for what you want and not just getting it.
I’ve already travelled to Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta and Germany for competitions. A lot of my holidays are just playing in events. But to be honest it is very nice and relaxing. And I also have my actual family holidays as well as my golf adventures.
My dad used to be really good at golf but he hasn’t played in about two years because he’s been coaching me and helping me out. It takes up a lot of his time so I’m very thankful that I have him, he does everything for me and is so supportive.
My whole family are supportive. My mum will email my entire family and tell them my results and for Christmas I will get golf stuff. I’m so grateful to them.”