Women & Golf Editor Emma Ballard speaks to Annabell Fuller ahead of her first season as a professional on the Ladies European Tour
The 2024 LET season starts this week in Kenya and amongst the 60 rookies, England’s Annabell Fuller will be taking her first steps into professional golf life. The Roehampton Club member has been playing golf since the age of three and after entering LET Q-School in December for the experience, ended up securing her tour card and making the decision to turn professional.
The 21-year-old won the English Under 16 Girls’ Championship in 2017 before going on to represent Europe in both the Junior Ryder Cup and PING Junior Solheim Cup. Fuller also competed in three Curtis Cups and also won the English Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2020.
Women & Golf caught up with Annabell just before she packed her bags to embark on her new adventure as a professional golfer.
How excited are you to kickstart your professional career in Kenya?
I'm pretty excited. It definitely came very quickly as I wasn't expecting to qualify and be straight into pro life. I thought I would have at least until the summer. It came as a big shock but at the same time, I’m excited to take that next step as it’s something that I've always been working towards.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the different pressures feel. Because obviously, up to now I've been playing for myself, there hasn't been any money involved or playing against other women who are also playing for work and earnings. I think it'll definitely be a lot of fun.
I’ve never been to Kenya, in fact it’s my first time in Africa, so that’s exciting too.
Were your professional plans brought forward due to LET Q-School?
So initially, when I went to LET Q-School, I had spoken to my (Florida Gators) coach before and she was very supportive of me playing because she believed it would be a great experience for me. She told me to just go there, have fun and see where I was against other pro golfers. I went there and I wasn't really sure how pre qualifying would go, I thought if I played well, I'd get through. And then obviously, I played well! Which meant that I got through to the final stage.
It was then that it crossed my mind that I could actually get my LET Tour card. My plan then had been, if I played amazingly, I’d defer my card until June – once I had finished college and finished the season, then I would play on the LET.
But whilst I was at final qualifying, I found out that they don't have that rule as they do for the Epson Tour, so if I qualified I had to claim my membership by January 15th.
I pretty much had two and a half weeks to decide if I was going to take my card and in doing so would turn pro, or if I could go back to school and then lose my card completely. After speaking to my coach and my family, I decided I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Because the whole point of college was to work and practice to get my tour card. So it seemed a bit silly right at the end to then turn that down.
How much of your degree do you have left to complete?
I have one class left in my English degree. I'm fortunate that I can do it online. So I will graduate in May. I’ll be completing the class whilst I travel and play on the LET.
Do you know what your pro schedule looks like at the moment?
I know pretty much up to about May time. I start in Kenya, then to Saudi Arabia for the Saudi Ladies International which I have been given an invite to. I'll then go to the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, then back home and I'm hoping to get into the Aramco Team Series event in Florida as I'm second on a reserve list right now. Then it will probably be the two in Australia and two in South Africa.
Reflecting on your college career, what would you say was your biggest golf achievement?
My biggest and favourite achievement was when I won our home tournament, the VyStar Gators Invitational, which was really nice because obviously, it was with all our teams and coaches watching. Our team also won the overall prize, so that was a really special memory to always have, with my coach giving me the trophy which just made it that much more special.
What about your amateur days, where you had the opportunity to represent your country, what stands out from that time?
I did really enjoy playing the Curtis Cup because I played with, Charlotte Heath and Hannah Darling, all my good friends growing up. However, I would say, the best memory that I have and I have a very clear image of doing it was when we won European teams for the first time, the gold medal with all the girls. I just remember all of us and the coach running down the fairways to catch up with the group ahead to tell them that they didn’t need to finish playing, as we had won. It was such an amazing week.
What will you draw from your amateur career into professional life?
Pulling on the experience from those big events like US am, ANWA and British am. Where there is a focus on you and the media aspect of those events. All the focus being on you, and the media aspect of it. I think that will definitely help and transfer into the pro tournaments.
Also knowing that there are some girls who I played in those amateur events with who are also playing on tour is nice as well, that they've taken that journey and it's working for them and that I can do the same thing.
Do you have any particular goals for the season ahead?
My goal this year is quite a personal one. I just want to enjoy my first year and take in every moment. I know it’s going to be difficult travelling back and forth but to appreciate every place that I go to and take a moment to think outside of my results.
The different places I go, different types of people I meet and enjoy the experience as well as the golf life. Obviously, I have this one chance to get close to being rookie of the year so it’d be pretty cool if I could start the season well.