Watch: Chiara Noja Exclusive Video Credit: Harry Grimshaw

Chiara, for our readers at Gulf News who don’t know your background, can you briefly tell us how you came to live in Dubai?

Well, I’ve lived I don’t want to say a lot of places, but I have lived pretty internationally to this point. I started playing golf when I was three and I was born in Germany and moved to England when I was seven. Then I started really getting into golf and started playing amateur events and started travelling. So a couple of years ago we were looking at relocating and we stumbled across Dubai, and we haven’t really looked back since it’s been perfect here.

After moving here and Covid hit you started playing the LET Access Series and then turned pro in 2021, how was that transition to the professional game?

It definitely was a weird stage in my career because you weren’t really sure about what was going to happen. I couldn’t play amateur events because of restrictions and a lot of tournaments became domestic. So, the LET Access Series gave me a really good opportunity to compete and having that opportunity to compete on a professional level I just missed out on my first pro win at 14 years of age, that gave me a big realisation of ok I could be playing on Tour professionally. Then I got three invites on the LET and it was really difficult imagining myself taking a step back to amateur golf, as it did feel like a step back. I enjoyed the professionalism required to play on the LET and I guess things just happened and it clicked, and I guess it was a good decision.

Looking back now, the last six months have been such a whirlwind.

It was a super long season for me. I wasn’t allowed to go to q-school because of age restrictions so I played on the LET Access Series as a pro this season. It was a weird atmosphere for me because I was really enjoying tour life and they (LET Access Series) kept adding events, so I kept on having to stay abroad longer than anticipated. After I won in Czech I was like “Ok, I’ve got my card now, how many events am I going to have to play to keep that?” It almost felt like we were going and playing everything rather than an organised schedule which was frustrating for all of us. Then also getting to play the Aramco Series events and the Saudi International at the start of the year (2022) was super fun and I have learnt so much playing in those against such strong fields was really cool.

What are your overriding memories from those two wins and how different were they?

In Czech things were coming to me a lot easier, I won by nine shots, and it was never a pressurised situation. It was smooth sailing the entire time and after the first round that was done deal. Whereas in Saudi I was three shots back going into the final round so I never felt like I was expecting to win, it was more of a chase which I enjoyed and it was a different dynamic. But the first win is obviously still very special.

Sport - Golf - Chiara Noja
Victory at Aramco Team Series – Jeddah (individual event) Image Credit: Supplied

The win in Saudi was a complete career changer.

I think playing LET Access Series was part of the reason I was able to win as it taught me how to deal with being chased. I have always been the youngest in the category doing things, so I have always had to chase others and aspire to do it one day. So, for me to be in that position of leading after nine holes and playing with the lead it was very pressurised, but I feel the LET Access Series taught me how to deal with that.

You obviously have Golf Saudi as a sponsor, how great have they been for your development?

They have been amazing, and the things they have been doing for women’s golf is incredible. The Saudi International which has just been announced as a 5 million dollar purse for the first time in it’s history to be equal to the men’s event is absolutely insane. It’s just incredible to see them out here giving us female players a platform to perform on and giving us the financial aid to do that as well. There are so many amazing talents on the tour as well and just being able to showcase that is really special.

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Chiara Noja is a Golf Saudi ambassador Image Credit: Supplied

Do you see yourself as a goal setter?

A lot of little goals I guess, mainly because I have got my GCSE’s this year it’s going to be super difficult to high ball it and be like “I want to be top 25 in the world next year” because realistically that isn’t going to happen. It’s going to be super difficult trying to balance those two so I’m just going to take every event as it comes and aim for top 100 in the world. We’ve got a saying that runs in my family “What happened yesterday doesn’t effect tomorrow” and I think it's very much like that on the golf course. I won my last event but I could have an awful event on the first week I come back so I have no guarantees just because it happened today or yesterday so I’m just taking everything as it comes and focusing on what I can control.

How special is it to be associated with Jumeirah Golf Estates?

Well one of my favourite golf courses is the Earth course and every time I come back, the facilities are great, and the people here are so sweet and it’s just very comfortable and like a second home from my bed I guess! But its great here I love it and at the end of the day of course my career is a big thing for me but also expanding the game of golf and getting more kids into it and seeing people love it as much as you do is super special and having Tommy Fleetwood and the DP World Tour have an academy to push that is really great.