Pushing Against the Barracks
“Women’s golf is like a tsunami coming” _Gary Player
A cloudy Cape Town day was not enough to stifle the excitement pulsing from the plane as the UniMedia Pro players arrived. The only thing bigger than their smiles was the size of their golf kits. Yet they trudged along eagerly, every step a drop off progress as the waves begin to churn…
For many their careers have taken various up and down turns, yet despite all these obstacles the passion for the game was a constant driving force. For Francesca CuturIi (25, Johannesburg), her passion for golf was only ignited after securing a degree in International Relations. Since then, she has admitted to doing “whatever needed to be done” to pursue her passion, often playing under Italy instead of South Africa because of the lack of funds for South African players. This is similarly the case for Tijana Kraljevic as her pursuit of golf has taken her from the ragged courses of Serbia (of which there are only two catering to a population of eight million), to Greece and China, all in an attempt to secure support for the talent she started developing at age nine.
With over thirteen years in the industry, Alana van Greuning (34, Secunda), states that the greatest tragedy is that the obstacles she encountered at the start of her career are still evident today, “there’s just no growth.” Michelle Leigh (26, Johannesburg) reiterates this by highlighting that even though golf is their “life,” it does not provide a “living” often forcing players to work an extra job in addition to extensive training, “the inevitable result is that your game weakens.” Despite the numerous issues raised, an aura of positivity hangs in the air when discussing the upcoming “Little Pace Challenge” and the future of women’s golf in South Africa.
When asked what is stopping her from achieving at the highest level, Lejan Lewthwaite (25, Johannesburg) uttered a simple yet bold remark – “nothing.” This sums up the dedication and drive of this collective group, who, along with UniMedia Pro’s support, will continue to push back against the sand barracks of male chauvinism, lack of prioritisation and inequality, and flood the country with an element that no obstacle can deter – talent!
Michelle Leigh “We have to start somewhere and UniMedia is the start.”