SETTING THE PACE FOR GIRLS
After a hat-trick of major successes from young guns Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel between 2008 and 2011, South Africans were anticipating a new generation of male “superstars” to replace Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.
However, our promising trio has disappointingly taken backward steps in recent years, and instead it has been a 33-year-old female golfer, Lee-Anne Pace ( above), who has seized the baton and become a persuasive role model for many young girls who might be debating whether to try golf.
Pace’s significant achievement was to become the first South African to win on the LPGA Tour since Sally Little in 1988. The LPGA Tour is dominated by Koreans, Americans and Scandanavians, so for Pace to break through in that competitive environment from a tiny golfing nation is remarkable. Her development as a player has been slow but steady, and Pace has shown a fire inside her that bodes well for her future career.
Women’s golf has for a long time needed someone like Pace to come along and accelerate the growth of the local women’s game. She’s already had the first Pace golf day for girls at Pearl Valley to try and spot young talent. More importantly, though, her presence will encourage more girls to give golf a try.