Astrid VAYSON DE PRADENNE was born in Provence, next to Avignon, France, and turned professional this year, just before playing the Terre Blanche Ladies Open in March. Astrid has played in 11 LETAS tournaments this year and finished 67th at the Order of Merit.
We interviewed Astrid, who is now 28 years old, at the Lalla Aicha Tour School in Rabat, where finished 9th and went forward to Final Qualifier.
Q: How did you start to play golf?
I started to play golf pretty late, as I was fifteen. It was at the NGF Garden Golf Avignon and I am still playing there. I played tennis, before, from five to fourteen. It was not too massive… just county level. But then, I got injured and did not do anything for a year, so one of my friends came and asked to join her, as she was going to the golf course. At that moment I thought, “why not, let´s try! ” and I tried. The local pro just came around and saw me hitting some balls and asked me for how long I was playing and I replied, “just today” so he told me that I had a talent and that sport suited me. The I spent days and days at the golf course… And he was my coach at the beginning of my golf career. Since June this year I took a new coach and I think we have a great collaboration going.
Q: Did you play amateur competitions with your National Team?
No, never as I started so late. I missed all the French Federation program. I was always too old and also entered the university when I was sixteen as well, because I was quite advanced with my studies.
Q: Tell us about your studies…
I did a Masters in Law in Avignon, so five years of school there and then a Bachelor in Physiotherapist in the United Kingdom, so I have been studying for eight years in total and I finished in September 2011. I am a lawyer and a registered physiotherapist now, and a golf player (laughs) but I do not work as a lawyer. Since then, I have been more focused on golf.
Q: This is your first year as professional. What have you been doing this year?
I shared my time between Physiotherapy and golf. I do not have a sponsor, so all the money I am earning through the Physio, I use it for my travel expenses. I do mainly community physio, what you could call private practice. It is a really nice job and you feel useful to people, you can see them progress and a really rewarding job.
Q: How do you feel now, are you ready for the LATS Qualifying School?
Yes, I feel way stronger, especially mentally. I have been at the beginning of the year with no coach and also, because at the beginning you do not people… but then you start knowing them so it becomes more enjoyable. At one point, when I missed a shot it was like the end of the world to me or after missing a cut, I would feel miserable. But now, with my new coach, I work on getting stronger mentally and I feel that I am starting to have a great attitude on the course. So that´s why now I am doing so well, even when I am not feeling well.
Q: Tell us about your game, what is the best part ?
I thought it was my driver, but then, when you play with other professionals, I have realised that I am not that long. My distance is around 220 meters. So my best part would be now the mental ability. Also, my accuracy, as I do not miss much fairways and tend to be quite good with my irons, long irons. Long game is definitively one of my best parts.
Q: And the weakest part of your game?
Bunker shots… I have worked on that because I actually completely lost it in Crete. I was in the final round with Mireia and Patricia and I was 5th… but I had a 9 on a par 3, going from one bunker to another and out of bounds: definitiely this is my weakest part.
Q: What about your putting?
It was getting better in Rabat. I only made 24 putts on the first round.
Q: Your expectations…
It is not there yet, so keep my head cool. Then I will go back home and get fixed by the doctor. I already know Al Maaden because I played last year and will take a local caddie, because I think is really useful as he knows the course. But I won´t repeat the same as last year… I promised myself never to cry again on the course.
Q: Any superstitions when playing golf?
Never, just believe in yourself.