So what was our experience? What was it about the event put together by UniMedia, that left an impression on my daughter and I?
As a lover of this beautiful game called golf and a father of 4 daughters – one of them, Zimkhitha who is madlly in love with golf and any opportunity she gets, she is on a golf course – when I got the call from my friend and mentee regarding an opportunity to participate in a unique project to promote and support women in golf. The PinkStig event, the first of many, would celebrate women’s success during Women’s Month.
I realized that this was an opportunity to, not only play in one of the most beautiful and at the same time challenging courses in South Africa, but since I had played the course several times, the experience would definitely not be WOW and new; but rather a time for the revival of my golf spirit…and the opportunity to network with other golfers… or so I thought.
However, within 5 minutes of engaging with Sally Little, the professional golfers and Dhiren Mehta and team, the night before, some unexplained energy filled me and became the driving force that convinced me to drop all and join the journey at Pearl Valley. This positive energy even had me encouraging my daughter to miss school for a day – an activity that I do not generally support.
But having my daughter bunk school in favour of experiencing the day with the legend in South African women’s golf and today’s professional golfers, compelled me to look the other way. So was my encouraging my daughter to bunk school in favour of playing golf worth it? Yes, without a doubt! And what we experienced on that day, in my view, far exceeded what she may have learned in the classroom.
Firstly the day was blessed by God as you understand him/her. Tuesday, 2 August 2016 was a summers day in the heart of winter. It was as if this perfectly clear day, was specially prepared for the event, because after the event on my way home, the driving rain was a harsh reminder that winter had not yet left the beautiful Cape. The night was wet and cold, and that for me was an explanation of the inexplicable energy I felt the night before and confirmation that the event was blessed.
Throughout the day, my daughter had the widest smile because she was the centre of attention in a game that she loves most, as much as she might not fully know and place everyone that attended the event, she really walked tall on the day, and was filled with the energy and happiness that light up my days. She really had Christmas in August, because she got the chance to watch and play alongside Sally the Legend, Lee-Anne, South African number 1 women golfer, the professional women golfers, and South African sports and media celebrities.
In spite of arriving home quite late, she could not stop telling to her mother and sisters about her “AWESOME” experience as she described the day’s events. Her animated story-telling continued the following day as she arose early, looking forward to going to school as she had a story to tell her class-mates. She is now holding me to my commitment of practicing and playing golf twice a week, to assist her in earning her 10 000 hrs (as suggested by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers – The story of Success)
For me, as the father, it felt like Christmas in August – a child being around the celebrities, participating in a game I love and being part of a journey that will directly benefit my daughter in years to come. Two things stood out for me beyond the love that filled the banqueting room that evening; the beautiful game of golf and the network potential that was on the golf course. These were: Sally’s life as a lesson for Zimkhitha and I in our journey in Golf; the presence of a true and a big heart in Dhiren Mehta and learning what and how he has been positively influencing other people’s lives.
The path/journey that Sally travelled with her father till his last day, was a reminder and a lesson for me of the journey ahead and the results that comes with the journey. When Sally shared her story of her last moments with her father, and the words they share; as much as they were about golf and the golf grip, for me it was more about the bond between a father and a daughter and that is what I would want to continue developing with my daughter through this beautiful game of golf. The path/journey that Dhiren Mehta is travelling with his wife and team; that of wanting to positively influence and/or impact other people’s lives, is better explained by the Chinese proverb, “If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.” And that is the journey that resonates with me that I wish to continue in in my little corner for years to come.
Zimkhitha and I say thank you to UniMedia Pro; for giving us the opportunity to be part of a journey filled with true energy, and for bringing to life this journey of women in Golf to both the father and the daughter that were on their own trying to find and understand the journey of professional women in golf. There is now light at the end of the tunnel, the strength of the light and the distance to the end of the tunnel will depend on the 10000 hrs (Zimkhitha and father, practice and play), initiatives such as PinkStig and the support this programme gets from corporates.
Edited by Debra Barnes
Photos taken by Rizqua Barnes