Milissa Eaton and her twin sister, Nicola, were raised by a single mother in Port Shepstone. Their mother, Colleen, was an aspiring professional who turned to teaching in the late 1980s and 1990s when the twins and their older sister were growing up around the game of golf.
The Els Foundation was founded in 1999 – when the Melissa and Nicole were young teens – with the purpose of identifying young, talented South African golfers, predominantly from families of limited resources, and to offer educational assistance and playing opportunities in order to produce successful young leaders and maximize their golf potential. The Eatons were foundation members in 2001-2.
“It was a very strict process,” Eaton said. “At first, there were only two girls – my sister and I – and 16 guys in the program. Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were involved. It made a huge difference.”
Some of Melissa Eaton’s amateur highlights include;
- Represented SA Golf Foundation team (2 boys, 2 girls) at the 2000 South African World
- Won the SA Golf Foundation Girls (u18) Championships 2001
- Represented SA Golf foundation team in the Netherlands 2001 (2 boys, 2 girls)
As a professional
- Voted the 2013 Symetra Tour Heather Wilbur recipient : Players of the Symetra Tour vote who they feel is the player that best exemplified perseverance, dedication and commitment to the game of golf.
- Melissa won her first professional tournament on a big tour, 2013 Florida Naturals Charity Classic
- 2014 she competed in the LET (Ladies European Tour) Qualifying school, finished T25th to earn her FULL LET card for the 2015 season.
- 2015 Ladies European Tour : she played 5 tournaments and made 3 out of 5 cuts.
Melissa is active in golf at many levels, playing, coaching and encouraging young ladies to take up the game. She is the Assistant Golf Director at Parkview. Now she tries to play more than practice, and treasures her golf time on the golf course.
Her favorite club, of all the clubs she has been a member at is by far Parkview Golf Club. “I have never felt more apart of a club, and like family as I do at Parkview. The members are an amazing group, from young guys and women, to our loyal senior members that have been here for years and years, and all have been amazing at making me feel so welcome and supported.” say Melissa
Melissa shares about her time in Houston, Texas: ” I worked with a guy named Kevin Kirk and his team, and he really transformed my game into what it is today. he gave me the building blocks to really develop and fine tune my short game and basic fundamentals in my golf swing.’ and “I also had the opportunity to work with the very well known putting/short game guru Dave Stockton in California, which was an amazing experience. He’s worked with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson , and many other top PGA and LPGA players.”
She adds: “Since I started working full time, traveling and playing golf full time has taken a back seat. I am currently not attached to any coaches, although my team in Pretoria have said to methat I am always welcome there if I need help.”
However golf and competing is what draws me out of my nest. Playing in the PinkStig Invitational is about the future of women’s professional golf with a fresh feel to how the game should be used to empower and progress our young women pro’s careers. Women’s Pro golf is richer already with the existing Sunshine Ladies Tour.