Cuba's digital destination

Annia Blanco Flores: Golfers beware

Annia Blanco Flores: Golfers beware

My ball might fly 280 yards dead straight, it might slice, it might hook, it can fade and draw, duck hook on a bad day. The only problem is that I never know when this might happen. It all seems like pot-luck and my best shots are often after a couple of beers on the course.

Annia on the other hand has that depressing consistency (if you are playing against her). Just ask the British Ambassador, Tim Cole, who spent the morning of the 2013 Habanos Golf Tournament crisscrossing the course spending more time in the sand than the average toddler at the beach while Annia shot a seemingly effortless 74.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. This is no young golfing prodigy. She never even held a golf club until well into her twenties. And at first, golf seemed kind of boring for her used as she was to a childhood of more active sports, most notably cycling, spending several years at the Cerro Pelado Higher Sports School for Top-Ranking Athletes in Havana and competing at the highest level within Cuba.

Yet it didn’t take long for her playing at Havana’s nine-hole Capdevila Golf Club “El Golfito” before she started beating all the men. Coco, an old Cuban caddy from the days well before the Revolution, was one of the first to recognize her talent and this was nurtured first in Cuba and subsequently at the Professional Golfers’ Career College in Temecula, California in the US where she became the first Cuban woman to graduate with honors in 2004.

Enrolled at this academy, she learnt more than just to play to a high level, but to teach, organize tournaments and even golf course design. Skills that she has now brought back to Cuba where she plans to create a Golf Academy in Havana, one that would pass on her knowledge and help develop the game on her home turf.

Before we get there, we are missing a chapter for after graduating from the Temecula Academy she became Cuba’s first professional golfer competing in tournaments around the world from Mexico to Malaysia, Scotland to South Africa and many other in between. Inside Cuba, she has won the Torneo de la Hispanidad three times and the Copa Montecristo in Varadero, Cuba twice including the last time playing in the men’s category. Outside Cuba, she has won the Lady Golf Tour and the Audi Golf Tour twice each.

And when she closes her eyes and dreams, it is of competing for Cuba in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 at the summer Olympics where golf is making its debut. If it is at all within her control, expect to see here there for as she says, ‘Ninety-nine percent of the game is in the mind,’ and in her mind there is no doubt and a resolute will.

As I say goodbye to her from the course she turns with a smile and laughingly shouts after us: “I told you.  Golf is my thing!” Absolutely.

Juan Dominguez tragically died on May 31, 2014. Juan was married to Annia when she started playing golf and supported and encouraged her ever since. He was the proudest person in the room when recounting Annia’s success on the golf course over the years. Juan was a truly wonderful person who will be terribly missed by all who knew him.
May he rest in peace.

June 2014 This article formed part of the june 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.

What’s On Havana What’s On La Habana What’s On La Havane June, 2014
English version
Junio, 2014
Versión Español
Juin, 2014
Version Francais
  Free Download   Descarga Gratuita   Telechargement Gratuit

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

go to Cuba Travel Network site