The Georgia Tech freshman golfer’s drives were initially coming up a little short, but, much like other aspects of his game, his distance improved after working with swing coach Jeff Patton.
“Anders has learned to rotate his core extremely quick and can apply the club face very square to the ball,” Patton said of the former Etowah High School standout. “I would say his driver can now approach 300 yards. He probably averages in the mid-to-high 280s. He’s not done yet. That’s the fun part. He’s still working on it.”
While Albertson’s drive didn’t impress anyone at first, his game as a whole began to tower over his teammates, and then the majority of his competition.
Albertson was recently selected as an honorable mention on Golfweek’s All-American list. He was one of only seven freshmen across the country to receive recognition.
Along with the All-American nod, Albertson was also an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, and finished as Georgia Tech’s No. 2 golfer this season behind with a stroke average of 71.4 that ranked sixth in the ACC.
Still, Albertson wants more out of his future golfing career.
“Ultimately, we want to win the national championship,” said Albertson, who graduated from Etowah a semester early in order to enroll at Georgia Tech in the winter of 2011. “We’ve won five ACC championships in a row, so we want to keep that going. We have a good, young team, and we’re excited about our position and can do some great things next year.
“Everybody wants to be the best they can be. You want to be an All-American and all of that stuff. It would be great to be a multiple-time All-American. The Walker Cup is next year. Obviously, it’s a goal of mine to make that team, and the Palmer Cup after that.”
In order to be able to set goals of that magnitude, Albertson had to gain confidence in himself quickly, elevating his game from the high school level to the collegiate and amateur ranks.
After opening the 2011-12 season with a third-place finish at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Albertson finished tied for second at the Brickyard Collegiate tournament in Macon. From the onset, Albertson’s confidence swelled as he knew he could compete on the collegiate ranks.
“Eventually, when you start getting a couple of good finishes back-to-back, it just becomes habit, and you change what you think about yourself,” he said. “I started having good results and believed that I belonged up there in bigger events.
“Having confidence in what you’re doing is huge. Results are ultimately what we are defined by in golf. You practice hard to put yourself into a place of contention in a tournament. You play to be nervous and be there in the end. It’s being in contention to win a golf tournament.”
Albertson was able to get to the final groups throughout his season, but he was unable to win his first collegiate golf tournament. According to Patton, there’s very little that fazes Albertson, as resolve is one of his greatest assets.
“So many times, he’s been in a tournament and he’ll go out and maybe doesn’t have a great front nine,” Patton said. “Maybe he shoots 2- or 3-over, but he can shoot 5- or 6-under on the back nine. He’s a grinder. He’s got the heart of a lion.”
But more than earning confidence or picking up added distance off the tee, Albertson has shown an ability to play the game in a more cerebral fashion than his opponents. He knows exactly what parts of his game need work outside of tournaments, and knows exactly how to play to his strengths during competitive rounds.
Along with that, Albertson makes sure to take notice of the small things.
“He’s very accurate and very aware of his actual yardages with his clubs,” Patton said. “I preach this all the time. You have to track your yardages on every single shot that you hit. That way you are actually aware of the change patterns. One day, you may hit 152, or sometimes you’re carrying 168 yards (with a certain club).
“But he’s a very smart player — he really is. He will be fun to watch. He will go as far as he wants to go with the game.”