For more than 40 years, Andrew Harper has fulfilled its mission of traveling incognito to discover the world’s finest hotels, restaurants and experiences — and then sharing that information with its community of travelers.
We often look back with great fondness and gratitude at the countless places we’ve had the privilege of visiting, and the memories we’ve created along the way. Through travel, we have learned that a place is defined by its people and their culture. By embarking on the unknown and embracing the unexpected, our adventures often allow us to connect with fascinating individuals along the way.
Albane Valenzuela, one of the LPGA tour’s bright young stars, is one of those individuals. A citizen of the world, Valenzuela was born in the United States and spent her early years in Mexico before her family relocated to Switzerland. She graduated from Stanford University with a 4.0+ GPA and was awarded Phi Beta Kappa. She speaks four languages (English, French, Spanish and German) and is on track to represent Switzerland once again in the Olympics this year.
Valenzuela's positivity and dedication to the causes she holds dear are truly inspirational. She co-founded Alexis for Autism with her brother, who is autistic, and together they have raised over $300,000 for autism spectrum disorder research. It is the opportunity to meet people like Albane that makes life special, and we could not be prouder to be an official sponsor of her professional golf career and welcome her into the Andrew Harper community.
This partnership represents Andrew Harper’s commitment to continuing to expand how we share with our members the joys of opening the world to one another. Please join us in supporting Albane as she pursues her goals, not only on her journey as a professional golfer but as she aspires to greatness both on and off the course.
How long have you been playing golf?
I started playing at the age of 3 in Mexico City.
What drew you to the game?
I just loved everything about it, from being outdoors to learning how to create new shots.
Did you play in college or go straight to the LPGA?
I played collegiate golf at Stanford University and turned pro my senior year after earning my LPGA card at Q-School.
Was it a hard decision to leave Stanford?
Leaving my team was a very tough decision, but knowing that I would get a degree from Stanford by June gave me a lot of comfort.
What has been the highlight of your golf career so far?
One of the highlights of my career was representing Switzerland at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was by far the most memorable experience in my golf career and something I will cherish forever.
Have you ever had a hole-in-one or an eagle in a tournament?
Sadly, both my hole-in-ones were during practice rounds: one of which was at the NCAAs with my teammates. I have had many eagles in tournaments, including two on par 4s this past season on the LPGA tour.
How far can you drive the ball?
I hit my drive around 260 yards.
What has been your favorite golf course to play?
My favorite course is Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula in California — the views are breathtaking!
Is there any particular course that you’ve wanted to play and haven’t been able to yet?
I would love to play Pine Valley in New Jersey and Shinnecock Hills in New York.
How many countries have you traveled to?
I would say I have visited over 30 countries, including Brazil, Australia, Japan and Morocco. Growing up in Europe, I got the opportunity to experience so many different cultures.
What is on your travel bucket list?
I would love to travel to Alaska, South Africa and New Zealand!
What country or city can you not wait to revisit?
I want to go back to London. I just love the city and want to spend more time there.
Tell us about an experience that made you think, “This is why I love travel.”
I grew up in a very international family. I was born in New York City to a Mexican father and French mother but spent most of my childhood in Switzerland. Traveling has always been an integral part of who I am and it strongly influenced my decision to become a professional golfer.
When you have downtime, how do you like to spend it?
I love spending time with family and friends, exercising, reading and being outdoors. My family moved to the Bahamas about three years ago, and I feel very thankful to spend a lot of my time in such a beautiful part of the world.
Tell us more about becoming a Swiss citizen.
I became a Swiss citizen at the age of 14. It usually takes about 10 consecutive years as a resident to apply for naturalization, with the years between the ages of 8 and 18 counting double. It was a very natural decision for me and by far the best choice I’ve ever made.
Do you get to do any sightseeing while on the LPGA tour, or is your schedule pretty restricted to golf?
I love visiting new places and always try to see something while I am traveling. The last time I went to Hawaii, I was determined to drive all around the island and do a few hikes.
What’s the hardest thing about being on tour? What’s the most fun thing? Has it lived up to your expectations?
The hardest thing about being on tour is finding a routine while being on the road. The most fun thing is traveling around the globe to compete against the best players in the world. I was certainly not expecting to start my career during a pandemic, so I look forward to the day when we can have fans and spectators again!
Who are people you admire in life? What about in the world of golf?
I have always admired strong and fearless female figures such as Condoleezza Rice and Lindsey Vonn. In the world of golf, I always admired Tiger Woods.
What are some of your passions outside of golf?
I am a very curious person and I love learning. I am always trying to find ways to learn, whether it is by reading or meeting new people.
Last year was particularly difficult for you: shoulder pain, an appendectomy and COVID-19. How did all that affect your game and your personal life?
2020 was an extremely challenging year for me both physically and mentally. It was a very painful experience, but it taught me to never take anything for granted. I feel very lucky about where I am today and for all the support I got throughout this time.
Tell us about your brother, Alex. It sounds as if you two have a very special relationship.
My brother has always been my biggest inspiration, both for his unwavering empathy for those in difficulty, but also for his courage to speak candidly about his battle with autism. He is a true fighter who always finds ways to bounce back from adversity and maintain a positive outlook for any given situation.
Tell us about Alexis for Autism.
My brother created the charity, whose focus and purpose is to organize golf events and raise funds for associations, foundations and medical research for autism. My brother wanted to lend his voice to autism and help other children on the spectrum through his passion for golf.
In his first event, which took place at our home course in Geneva in June 2018, he raised over $300,000 to support genetic research. Our goal is to do another event in the Bahamas to provide access to therapists for low-income families.