Fly­ing high with birdies and ea­gles

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Al­l­li­son Cooper

BE­COM­ING A pro­fes­sional golfer is not easy by any­one’s mea­sure. But two women from an East Lon­don town­ship have re­alised this dream.

Ded­i­cat­ing their lives to golf is pay­ing off for sis­ters Yolanda

(28) and Siviwe

(30) Duma.

The de­ter­mined duo from Mdantsane town­ship in East Lon­don turned pro­fes­sional in Jan­uary 2017.

They were in­tro­duced to golf by their fa­ther. At the time, Yolanda was eight and Siviwe was 10. “Once I started play­ing and de­vel­oped a love of the game, it was my dream to turn pro,” said Yolanda.

Both sis­ters have al­ready played two sea­sons of the Sun­shine Ladies Tour and are look­ing for­ward to the next sea­son, which starts at the end of Jan­uary 2019.

Pro­fes­sional golfer Michelle De Vries took the sis­ters un­der her wing in 1999 and in­tro­duced them to the South African Golf Devel­op­ment Board (SAGDB), Bor­der Ladies Golf, the Ernie Els and Fan­court Foun­da­tion and Women's Golf South Africa.

“Mak­ing the teams to play out­side of East Lon­don and get­ting to travel to var­i­ous parts of the world are some of the high­lights of my golf­ing ca­reer. If it wasn't for golf, I would not have been over­seas,” said Yolanda, who en­cour­ages as­pir­ing pro golfers to not give up.

Be­ing a pro golfer and com­ing from a poor back­ground is not easy. The sis­ters have to travel a lot and pay for var­i­ous ex­penses, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and tour­na­ment costs.

Siviwe’s jour­ney be­fore turn­ing pro was over­whelm­ing and ex­cit­ing. “As a town­ship ju­nior girl golfer, I got to travel to other prov­inces and golf sup­ported me fi­nan­cially. I was in­spired when I was se­lected to rep­re­sent my province at an early age and by the fi­nan­cial sup­port we re­ceived from the SAGDB, Bor­der Ladies Golf and the Ernie Els and Fan­court Foun­da­tion,” she said.

In the fu­ture, Siviwe wants to win a pro tour­na­ment.

Her per­sonal motto is that once you taste a win, you want to win all the time.

To those aim­ing to turn pro, she urges you to be your own big­gest fan. “Con­sis­tency is harder when no one is clap­ping for you and you are not get­ting recog­ni­tion. You must clap for your­self dur­ing those times,” she said.

Both sis­ters now need to find a spon­sor. Un­til this hap­pens, they have to host an an­nual golf day to help them to raise the funds they need to play tour­na­ments. Their next fundrais­ing golf day will be held on 7 De­cem­ber at the West­bank Golf Club in East Lon­don. For more in­for­ma­tion or to be­come a spon­sor, con­tact de Vries at 082 453 7298.

Yolanda Duma.

Siviwe Duma.

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