At just 15-years-old, Chiara Noja has made remarkable strides in the golfing world and is making her mark around the globe.
By balancing both school and the world of sport, she’s already turning heads by making a headline-worthy debut at this week’s Dubai Moonlight Classic.
Emirates Woman spoke to Chiara regarding all that she’s achieved in her career so far at such a young age, while she continues to inspire future generations to pursue their dream.
What inspired you to begin so early in your career?
I’ve always had keen golfers around me and my family as both my parents were avid golfers. That inspired me to be inclined towards the sport especially when I moved to England and started practising it more. The older I got, mostly around six or seven years, it became a passion and I’ve loved it ever since.
Tell us about any key career highlights as a golfer?
I definitely think Belgium, for the latest event. It was my second event on the professional tour and I finished second. It was a great memory, as I got into the final round before leaving the tournament, so that’s always going to be really special to me.
You’ve made history at the Golf Flanders LETAS Trophy. How did that feel?
I wasn’t really thinking about it. I just gave it my all and played golf. I didn’t win, but I learned a lot during the process. Overall, the reaction was incredible, especially of those around me. It was a great experience.
What advice would you impart to aspiring junior golfers dreaming of a career in this field?
To definitely work hard and grind it out. However, the main thing is to always have fun because that’s always what’s going to be of utmost importance.
You’ll be one of the youngest players to turn professional at the Dubai Moonlight Classic, how does that feel?
It’s always something that I’ve aspired to do at some point in my life and I’m glad that it’s happening now, it’s really special to me. Especially at this event which has that energy of connection and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a really great opportunity and I’m proud to be a part of it.
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How has the UAE supported your career as a golfer?
Firstly, it doesn’t get much better than Dubai when it comes to a practising facility. It’s absolutely awe-inspired. Most of them have four short game areas and two driving ranges, with beautiful courses. The people are extremely hospitable and highly supportive, all of this is a dream come true. Being blessed with an opportunity such as this and having a chance to live here is absolutely incredible.
Who is your biggest inspiration in golf?
My biggest inspiration would definitely be the American golfer, Nelly Korda. She’s someone I look up to and I sort of imagine myself as her, as she’s tall, blonde and has similar swings. When I look at her, I imagine myself being her.
You challenge the status quo in your industry, how do people respond to you within the community and have you had to push past any barriers?
Everyone around me so far has been super supportive. Especially as it wasn’t quite a shock to everyone and they saw it coming. I’ve been on this path since the beginning and throughout my entire journey, I’ve had people show their support. I’ve been working my hardest and trying to grind it out, so all in all, I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes.
What does a typical training routine include?
It depends from season to season. When it’s off-season tourist prep, I try and eat healthily and practice for as long as possible. I try and split it up and see what I’m working on at the moment. There’s a key focus on certain areas of my game, if it’s in full swing then I go to the gym to work out. But otherwise, I try and get my hours in to grind it out and be quite the perfectionist as much as possible.
Both your parents are keen golfers. Did that play an important role in leading you to where you are?
When you group up with your parents playing golf, you start to think of how you can beat then one day. When I was younger, I used to see my father play and knew I would out-beat him and I did. He doesn’t want to admit it yet, but I did get him. There’s always going to be this one aspect which I’m extremely proud of.
What’s your key to balancing both school life and the world of sport?
A lot of people forget about that. My school here in Dubai actually has a golf programme. They’ve been quite supportive of my daily schedule and it’s based on when I’m going for practice. My GCSE subjects are based on my timetable which is really well-balanced, so this supports me in this arena too. However, academics are always going to be a major part of my life for the next couple of years and I think we’ve done a pretty good job at maintaining that so far.
This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you?
I think definitely the openness to the world. I think the UAE including Dubai is so culturally accepting of different ethnicities. It’s such a colourful country and it’s incredible to see how many different cultures come together. The UAE has achieved so much over the last couple of years and It’s one of the most beautiful places to live in the world for me. I love it here.
The Dubai Moonlight Classic is being held Oct. 27-29 on the Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club.
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