THINK YOUNG, PLAY HARD

Ber­tine Strauss is play­ing the LPGA Tour in 2016.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - In­ter­viewed by Barry Havenga

Ber­tine Strauss.

ON

GROW­ING UP IN A SMALL TOWN

Peo­ple may think it was a dis­ad­van­tage for my golf by grow­ing up in Koster, a small farm­ing town near Rusten­burg in the North West Prov­ince, but it couldn’t have worked out bet­ter. Close by is Mil­l­vale Pri­vate Re­treat, an es­tate owned by In­vestec, and I was al­ways wel­come to play and prac­tice on the 18-hole course there. I be­came friends with In­vestec’s Sam Hack­ner and Robin Magid and they have sup­ported me for many years. With­out In­vestec’s spon­sor­ship, I wouldn’t have been able to a ord my rst year on the LPGA Tour.

ON EN­DUR­ING LPGA QUAL­I­FY­ING SCHOOL

You wouldn’t wish the Q School ex­pe­ri­ence on any­one – it’s bru­tal! The rst stage in Cal­i­for­nia last Au­gust wasn’t too stress­ful, and I man­aged to win it, but I bat­tled in Stage II in Florida and just made it through to the Fi­nal Stage. Even­tu­ally I earned the 15th card (there were 160 play­ers com­pet­ing for 20 spots over ve rounds) by play­ing the nal nine holes in 2-un­der. It was ex­haust­ing, but you gain tre- men­dous self-be­lief from the ex­pe­ri­ence. I re­ally felt like I had earned my stripes and that I be­longed in the pro game when I re­turned home to play in the Ladies Joburg Open in Jan­uary. I have since made my LPGA de­but in the Ba­hamas LPGA Clas­sic, where I made the cut (on the same score as Lee-Anne Pace) and earned $3 595.

THE DIF­FER­ENCES BE TWEEN MEN’S AND WOM EN’S PRO­FES­SIONAL GOLF

There are ob­vi­ously more op­por­tu­ni­ties for (South African) men to play over­seas on for­eign tours than there are for women, and as­pir­ing fe­male pros in this coun­try have to take a very big leap of faith to go over­seas. A di er­ent chal­lenge women face is the de­ci­sion on when to put their ca­reer on hold – some­times in their ath­letic prime – to start a fam­ily.

ON WHY THE KORE­ANS HAVE BEEN SO SUC­CESS­FUL

I think the Kore­ans have an in­cred­i­ble work ethic, which is in­grained from a young age.There is a per­cep­tion though that many Kore­an­born play­ers on the LPGA Tour are pushed into golf

and see it sim­ply as mak­ing a liv­ing, rather than pur­su­ing it for the love of the game. I’m not say­ing it’s a bad thing, but be­cause they have shown ta­lent and sub­se­quently been ‘forced’ into golf, peo­ple per­ceive them as be­ing quite ‘ro­bot-like.

ON GO­ING THE COL­LEGE ROUTE

You re­ally have to want to go to America to study and play golf – it can’t be be­cause your par­ents want you to do it. Be­cause once you’re there you have to be an in­de­pen­dent per­son.You can’t be ex­pect­ing a great time, all the time. There will be many mo­ments that test you. I was lucky that Dylan Frit­telli was at Texas when I ar­rived, and when Bran­don Stone joined the golf team I was in my sec­ond year. Bran­don’s dorm was op­po­site mine and he used to visit of­ten be­cause I had a TV – and Rooi­bos tea!

ON SUP­PORT­ING THE SUN­SHINE LADIES TOUR

I des­per­ately want to play in enough events to qual­ify for the Chase to the In­vestec Fi­nal at Mil­l­vale in March – I’ll be the only one with lo­cal knowl­edge! For the re­main­der of the year I should get starts in ap­prox­i­mately 20 events on the LPGA Tour. It’s go­ing to be a great adventure. My boyfriend Wian Faber – a PGA pro from Cen­tu­rion – will be trav­el­ling and cad­dy­ing with me this year.

In her pro­fes­sional de­but

in South Africa, Strauss fin­ished sec­ond in

the Joburg Ladies Open.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.