ALAN WAGNER: A PROFESSIONAL GOLFER IN LATIN AMERICA
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a professional golfer in Latin America? No?!! Well, neither had I before I met Alan Wagner! As a matter of fact, I’d never thought about how it’s like to be a pro golfer anywhere before I met Alan. So, who is this guy who literally grew up in front of a golf course? Read on to find out…
Who is Alan Wagner?
Alan Wagner (born 1989) is a golfer from Olavarrìa, Argentina, who has been traveling the world since the age of 14. Until the age of 18 he represented Argentina (AAG Asociacion Argentina de Golf) in all types of championships: juniors and seniors in whole South America, juniors and seniors in Japan, South Africa and USA, and in many national tournaments in Argentina. At the age of 18, he was ranked no 5 in the “amateur world ranking”, right before taking the decision to become a professional golfer.
During his professional career, he has competed in the Challenge Tour of Europe (2008, 2009, 2010) and in small circuits and tournaments of the web.com tour in the USA. For the last several years he has been competing in the Circuito Latinoamericano of PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) and from 2012 until this date he has been alternating seasons between the Latin American circuit (PGAtourLA) and the Canadian circuit (PGAtourCanada). He holds five wins on professional level (Peru 2008, Colombia 2009, Usa 2011, Argentina 2012 and 2016).
Interview with Alan Wagner
Alan, you’ve recently been touring quite a lot in Latin America. How has it been going?
Very well! Competing in Latin America is extremely entertaining for me. I continuously find myself with people and places that I use to visit already as an amateur, and now, after so many years of playing as a pro, some places really feel like coming home – as to how people receive me, how comfortable the place is and how I am fully able to enjoy the place.
Where have you been and where will you go next?
The circuit I’m on now has 19 dates, all in different locations. This year we’ve already been playing in Colombia, Panama, Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico. Right now I’m in Nicaragua, and next I will head to Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Peru and Puerto Rico.
When did you start playing golf and how did it end up being your profession?
I’ve been playing golf since I was 6 years old. I lived right next to the course of Olavarría (C.A.E.) and oddly, it never even crossed my mind to practice any other sport. I don’t remember an exact moment when I said I want golf to be my profession, but from a very small age I dreamt about playing in the PGA tour and winning major championships. I think this and the good results when I was playing as an amateur were the reasons why I decided to become a pro at the age of 18.
This was a very important step in my life, and it was made possible by a man from Olavarría named Emilio, who supported me economically. I myself come from a very modest (sp. ‘humilde’) family in Olavarría, and I would never have had the chance to travel so much and interact in such a wonderful environment if it hadn’t been for golf. In fact, Emilio is a very special person in my life, who has not only supported me financially, but has been polishing my personality day after day since I was 12.
What do you enjoy most about golf?
To me, golf involves loads of aspects that make it extremely challenging. Even just adding up the feelings related to specific moments during a competition. For example: the feeling in your hands after hitting the ball like you wouldn’t have previously imagined, holing a putt, surfing in the mental pressures of a major competition. It’s a constant battle and I find this very amusing.
In Europe golf is considered an elitist sport. What about in Latin America?
There are still places in Latin America where belonging to a lower social class is not an impediment for playing golf. In fact, Argentina is one of those places where elitism does not prevent anyone from practicing the sport (luckily for me!). However, it is obviously going the same direction as Europe. In countries like Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Mexico, it is already quite a pre-established norm that golf is only for a determined social class.
When you travel, do you have time to go around?
Over time, I’ve learnt to enjoy very much the places where I compete. Even though there’s not a lot of it, on my free time I enjoy going to some touristic spot nearby or simply just taking a walk around the city. I like taking pictures, so at least for a while, that and the walking make a great combo for distracting the head from the competence. It’s very entertaining!
What’s your typical day like when on tour?
The days on tour are generally very monotonous. I wake up around 6−7, I do my meditation, eat breakfast and go to the course, depending on what time I compete. If it’s in the morning, I take advantage of the evening by going out to the driving range and fine tuning what I think is necessary. After that I do my physical activity which takes a bit more than an hour and with this I feel my sportsmen’s duty is covered for the day. By that time it’s already 5PM and usually I’m quite tired, so I enjoy going to the hotel, taking a nice shower and having a delicious and early dinner, in order to be ready for the following day. I’m quite well aware of the benefits of a “healthy” life, regarding nutrition, exercise and rest. This, combined with the demands of a high performance athlete, make my lifestyle quite prolix!
What about back home?
When in Buenos Aires, I train 5−6 times a week, 8 hours a day. I divide my training into physical and mental training. Physically I train power, resistance and many exercises of stability and stretching, many of which are related to the movements of golf. Nowadays, I take the mental aspect very much into consideration. I have a very close relationship with my psychologist Agustin, be it regarding clinical questions as well as sport related ones. He knows how to guide me in both. I also like to practice mindfulness, which is one of the most fundamental aspects of my growth both as person and as sportsman. The intensity and the form of training depend on which part of the golf period I’m in.
You’ve told me you’d like to move from Olavarría to Buenos Aires. Why?
Buenos Aires is where the whole crew I work with is. This includes: Agustin Hope (psychologist), Juani Gil (golf coach) and Mariano Scalise (physical coach). In addition to that, the places for training are of a lot better quality than the ones in my hometown. It’s a perfect combo: I like the city and I have many friends there. It really is a lot of fun!
Alan’s TOP 5 golf courses in Buenos Aires
- Pilar Golf
- Olivos Golf
- Buenos Aires Golf
“These are all excellent courses where you can enjoy a very interesting day of golf!”
Background: how I met Alan Wagner?
I met Alan for the first time in his hometown while couchsurfing at his friend’s place in the midst of cycling. Later, we met up in Buenos Aires where he trains for his tournaments. Recently, we ran into each other at the airport of Lima, Peru (sic!) as he was on his way from Buenos Aires to a tournament in Nicaragua, me on my way from Madrid to Foz do Iguazu, Brazil. That’s where I asked this wonderful human being to tell us more about the life of a golfer in Latin America!