Tijana Kraljevic together with her father, Vladimir, her mother, Natasa and her brother Danilo moved to South Africa when she was only two years old. Her brother Danilo is a professional golfer coaching in Serbia, continuously training night and day to get onto the tour. “He is my inspiration and because of him, I started playing golf”.
Tijana narrates her story;
South Africa proved to be very limiting in golf despite the fantastic golf courses and great weather. There is just not enough money and play to make a decent career in South Africa.
At the age of eighteen, I finally got the opportunity to go and play golf in Serbia and was I in for a surprise? Serbia has only two nine hole golf courses in a country with a population of 8 million. They still do not have an 18 hole golf course and has only two driving ranges, one 200m and the other 150 m.
Golf is hard enough as it is and when you take away the facilities like the driving range, golf courses, coaches and most importantly competition you have no chance of making it. So any player with any kind of ambition of becoming a pro golfer has to leave Serbia, and this proved to be no different for me. I always looked for an opportunity to travel elsewhere to further my golfing career. After Serbia I went off to experience golf in Morocco and there I spent four months with my friend Maha who is playing on the European Ladies Tour. Her family was kind enough to take me in and look after me like one of their own daughters. I was nineteen years old when I started playing on the Ladies European Tour Access Tour.
The king of Morocco is very fond of golf so much so that he runs the development programme and gives a substantial amount in funds towards it. Maha told me how they flew in Hank Haney (the former coach of Tiger Woods ) for the day to coach their best players. She had a putting lesson only as she was committed to her current swing coach.
As you may know there is a European tour event hosting the King Hassan ll golf trophy as well as the ladies European tour event, The Lalla Meryem Cup. The princess of Morocco is a great player herself and is in charge of the women’s event. I was fortunate enough to meet her through Maha as we trained together at the golf club that would host the women’s European tour.
The PinkStig Invitational reminds me of my experiences in Morocco and can easily become the princess event on the South African Women’s Professional Golf. It would be equally exciting if the PinkStig becomes attractive enough for international women players. This will give me the opportunity to invite Maha to come and play here and I can finally spoil her a bit!