Nuria Iturrioz: golf is my life

Has becoming a professional golfer been a dream come true for you?

Yes. From when I was very young, 6 or 7 years old, I wanted to be a professional player. I started to compete here, en Son Servera, and then in the Spanish Championship I was selected to go to the High Performance Centre in la Blume, in Madrid. I was there from when I was 14 to when I was 19, and on starting to compete internationally I realised that the players were very good, and I saw clearly that I would have to work hard. I put everything into being a professional and in the end I achieved it when I was 19; specifically the 7th September 2015: a date I will never forget.

What has been the key for you that made this possible?

In 2015 I had a very good year. As an amateur, I came second in the Portugal International, I won the French International, I won the Copa de Andalucía, and finally, I was the overall winner of the Spain National Championships, held in Cadiz, which was my dream. Afterwards, I went to ‘los europeos’ and ended up ranked seventh in the world. I also came seventh in the European Championships.  I gained a lot of motivation and I decided to take the leap to become a professional. I was mentally excellent. For me,golf is 50% mental, 20% physical, another 20% technique, and 10% strategy.

Once inside the professional realm, what long-term and short-term targets have you set for yourself? For the moment, you have already won a tournament…

Yes, I won the second professional tournament that I have taken part in, in Morocco. It was an amazing high. I was coming out of a severe pancreatitis that I had suffered, and it was very exciting. Then, halfway through the year, I had a slump. This can happen to any sportsperson, but then I got over it. As I say, I never settle for less, but at the same time, I can’t complain about my 2016.  In the short term, I always try to win any tournament I participate in; in the medium term, I am thinking about playing in the USA to compete against the best.  I am certainly not lacking in motivation.

What advice would you give to any young players who wish to follow in your footsteps?

Never lose the motivation to play and to get better, but at the same time be patient.  There’s no need to feel anxious. You have to know how to control yourself and to channel that desire to improve. Any sports psychologist will tell you: “I prefer someone who is motivated and has character to someone who is apathetic”.

What are the best and worst aspects about your profession as a golfer?

The best part is that it’s about my life. Golf is everything to me, it means everything to me, and this means that I don’t even notice the least pleasant aspect, which would be not being able to go out with my friends as much as I would like. I feel more of a need to go to the golf course to practice than to go out clubbing.