Golfer Kristine Seko
Q: How old were you when you started playing golf?
A: I remember owning my first plastic set of golf clubs when I was six or seven years old, but I got my first handicap when I was 11 and that’s when I started playing in competitions.
Q: Your parents are both talented sportspeople – did they spur on your interest in golf?
A: Both mum and dad love golf, and my sister, Elina, and I basically grew up at the Madang Country Club. Dad has represented Papua New Guinea internationally, both at the Pacific Games and Putra Cup, as has mum, who was also the women’s national amateur champion in 1990 and 1991. I actually had a play-off with mum one year at the Madang Open – she’s a real competitor, she made me work for it, but she cheered so loud for me when I sunk the putt to win, even though it meant she lost.
Q: When did you get serious about the sport?
A: Well, I actually first represented PNG at the Pacific Games in 2007, but for squash, not golf. We won gold in the team event, and I just missed out on a medal in the individual category. But, after I became the women’s national amateur champion in 2012, I decided to just focus on golf.
Q: What has been the highlight of your golfing career?
A: Definitely winning individual and team gold at the Pacific Games in Port
Moresby in 2015 in front of family and friends.
My mum flew down from Madang and I was so proud and humbled, and I felt a real sense of accomplishment. Being the flagbearer for Team PNG at the Mini Pacific Games in 2017 in Vanuatu was pretty great too.
Q: Do you play golf professionally?
A: No, but I am lucky that I can fit playing golf around my work in development in PNG. I have worked for the UN Women and the Kokoda Initiative, and I am currently in Melbourne under the Australia Awards program studying a Master of International Development Practice at Monash University. I have just joined the Huntingdale Golf Club here, the former home of the
Australian Masters, so I can keep up my training before I head home.
Q: What do you miss most about PNG?
A: The local food for sure – I miss my pit pit and aibika. And hanging out at the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club; I miss my friends and the banter. But Melbourne is such a multicultural city and I love creating links with other international students as part of the Australia Awards program.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I would like to become a senior program manager or director of a development program, and keep playing golf, of course. I would like to work with the PNG Golf Association to promote the sport to more women in the country, and work with business houses to support junior golfers and their development. I love golf, it’s in my blood, and I wouldn’t feel like me if I wasn’t playing. ■