Austria native Isabella Holpfer moved to Athens in August to join the Georgia women’s golf team starting this fall. The United States is not unknown land to Holpfer. Her mother is from Minnesota, and she has traveled around the U.S. to compete in tournaments since 2012.
Holpfer’s swing coach and former Austrian professional golfer Nicole Gergely said that the transition for the freshman golfer has been much more seamless than she expected amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Isabella] couldn’t wait to start a new chapter in her life,” Gergely said.
Gergely and Holpfer first met at the Girls British Open in 2018. In October 2019, Holpfer contacted Gergely and they have worked together since.
The two set up video-conference lessons during the COVID-19 lockdown to continue to work on Holpfer’s swing. They plan to continue these during Georgia’s season if the golfer runs into any issues in her game.
“This was a positive [from the COVID outbreak] as we found this new method and thought it is great when Isabella is in the United States and I am back home,” said Gergely.
Holpfer also sends Gergely videos of her swing. The coach said that Holpfer “knows her body well” and that video analysis can take place of direct video calls most of the time.
Aside from golf, they are able to keep up with each other’s lives using the messaging app WhatsApp and follow each other on Instagram. Gergely hopes to visit the U.S. soon and meet the Georgia golf team.
Holpfer was first able to meet her teammates during her official visit in spring 2020 and has since gotten much closer to the team. Fortunately, the pandemic hasn’t dismissed the chance to develop relationships with her new teammates, as Holpfer said they spend a lot of time together during the week at workouts, practices and team meals.
Golf has kept her very busy, but she still manages to enjoy herself by meeting her teammates at a local park and relaxing.
In her last Austrian tournament before her international move, Holpfer competed in the International Austrian Amateur Championship. She placed seventh overall in the tournament.
Holpfer expected to play in multiple international tournaments this past spring before the COVID-19 pandemic. She was invited to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, European Ladies Team Championship and British Ladies Amateur Championship. Holpfer said that the tournaments that were postponed were set after she was scheduled to move to the U.S., so she was forced to withdraw.
Holpfer has an impressive record in her eight years of golf experience. She became the youngest ever to win the Austrian Ladies’ Matchplay Championship in 2014 at only 13 years old.
In her free time, Holpfer loves watching football and spending time on TikTok. She is described by Gergely as intelligent, hardworking and reliable.
“[Isabella] has worked hard to reach her goals,” Gergely said. “She is enjoying herself in the States now.”