Golf Development


Meet sisters, Loapi Chokwe (17 years) and Maru Chokwe (16 years) who joined BSI at the beginning of 2023, after visiting in 2022 from Botswana to participate in a few private golfing clinics at BSI, and now basing themselves in South Africa, along with 14-year old Ugandan born Keisha Kagoro, who are all studying full-time in the BSI Junior Academy Program. BSI JUNIOR Golf Academy BSI has had many interactions and have dealt with many great women in the golfing world who are shaping and creating new pathways for women both on the golf course and those who have made great careers and are working in the industry. From the likes of professional golfer Casandra Alexander, to your very own Charlene Thomson, Founder of We Women Golf Magazine, to the BSI graduates who are breaking the barriers and taking up positions as greenkeepers and golf administrators in big corporates, as read about in previous editions of We Women Golf. The future of womens golf in africa In this article, we would like to focus our attention on the development and future of women’s golf in Africa and highlight some young ladies who have chosen to leave their countries of birth and follow their passion and concentrate on a sport they have become to love over their young years.We would like to introduce you to BSI Golf Academy’s ‘The Young Lionesses of Africa’. WE GOT AN OPPORTUNITY To Chat To the Young Ladies… About their dreams and ambitions and how things are going in their short few months in South Africa Q&A with The 3 Lionesses How old were you when you started playing golf?Loapi Chokwe I started at 14 years oldMaru Chokwe I started at 13 years oldKeisha Kagoro 6 years old What or who inspired you to start playing golf?Loapi Chokwe I was watching a movie and they were playing golf and I jokingly told my parents that I would like to play, my father took it seriously and now I am here and I can really say I love the sport.Keisha Kagoro Most of my family was playing and I did not want to feel left out. Who is your favourite golfer and why?Loapi Chokwe I have two favourite golfers, Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn and they are my favourite because they have a similar story to the journey my sister and I are on.Maru Chokwe The Jutanugarn sisters because their journey to being pro golfers is very relatable and beautiful.Keisha Kagoro Nelly Korda as being ranked number 1 in the world, is a huge inspiration. Who is your favourite golfer and why?Loapi Chokwe My greatest achievement as a golfer, has to be when I represented my country, Botswana in Egypt for the All-Africa Junior Championship.Maru Chokwe Winning the Orapa Diamond Challenge 2022 in Botswana What makes you proud to be a female golfer in such a male dominant sport?Loapi Chokwe What makes me proud to be a female golfer is that you barely see girls play golf and I continue playing in a male environment. I want to be a pro golfer and you hardly hear a female telling people they want to go pro in golf.Maru Chokwe I’m proud that I’m taking this step as I know it will open up more opportunities in sport and in life for me. Keisha Kagoro That I have a greater chance to prove to the world that golf is for both genders. How do you feel about playing against boys?Loapi Chokwe I enjoy playing with boys as it is more competition and motivates me more. Naturally a boy would hit further than a girl and I have realised their game is more consistent so there is much I can take out and learn from. Are there any challenges you have experienced as a female golfer?Maru Chokwe There are not many females my age playing in my home country so there is not many tournaments and competitions for us.Keisha Kagoro The expectation is set high for us female golfers because there is not a lot of us, so we are expected to be at top. Where would you like to see yourself in a few years?Loapi Chokwe I would like to see myself touring the world playing professional golf and meeting different women that were powerful enough to continue in sport and made it big. What is your biggest dream as a golfer?Loapi Chokwe My biggest dream is to turn professional and inspire more young girls to take up the sport.Maru Chokwe My biggest dream as a golfer is to play on the LPGA tour.Keisha Kagoro To be the best and most successful female golfer from Africa. What woman inspires you and why?Loapi Chokwe My mother inspires me a lot and I know a lot of girls say this, but my mother is the most intelligent and hardworking woman I have ever met and the effort she puts into everything she does, from the love she gives to her family to the support she shows me and my siblings in our golf journey.Maru Chokwe My mother inspires me so much because of how hard working she is.Keisha Kagoro My mother because she never gives up and finds a way to encourage herself. African High Performance Golf Training Camp BSI hosts and manages on behalf of the R&A, Olympic Solidarity Fund, International Golf Federation and PGA of SA, the African High Performance Golf Training Camp which forms part of a project to increase the competitiveness of golf across the continent and happened in June 2023. Players from the 2nd African High Performance Golf Training Camp 2023 from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, Namibia and Uganda.


WWG Magazine ISSUE #7: OUT NOW

WELCOME TO ISSUE 7 OF WE WOMEN GOLF MAGAZINE! With great pleasure, I bring to you issue 7 of We Women Golf Magazine, a publication dedicated to celebrating the triumphs, challenges, and remarkable stories of women in the golfing community. As we navigate through these ever-changing times, one thing remains constant: the power of women in the sport of golf. We have witnessed incredible achievements and breakthroughs on and off the green. Our magazine strives to showcase female golfers’ talents, determination, and sheer brilliance, from seasoned professionals to rising stars. In the pages of We Women Golf Magazine, you will discover a wealth of engaging content designed to inspire, inform, and entertain. Our team of talented writers, photographers, and industry experts work tirelessly to bring you the latest news, in-depth features, exclusive interviews, and practical tips to enhance your golfing experience. IN THE SPIRIT OF INCLUSIVITY In the spirit of inclusivity, We Women Golf Magazine embraces the diversity that enriches our golfing landscape. We celebrate golfers of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and cultures. It is our firm belief that the strength of our magazine lies in the unity and shared love for the game that unites us all. As we continue on this journey together, we promise to keep pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and shattering stereotypes. Our mission is to empower women in golf and advocate for equality, paving the way for future generations to excel in this incredible sport. I invite you to immerse yourself in the captivating world of women’s golf through the pages of We Women Golf Magazine. Let us inspire and motivate each other, as we strive for excellence, sportsmanship, and the sheer joy of the game. Thank you for being a part of our community. Your unwavering support fuels our passion to deliver the best content possible. Together, we can make a lasting impact and shape the future of women’s golf. Happy Golfing…Charlene

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Who will be victorious this year? STANDARD BANK PRO-AM SERIES One of our main objectives is to empower female professional golfers by creating more playing opportunities for them. The series aims to drive the development of female players at the grassroots level and empower talented professional female golfers by creating opportunities for more playing time, which will enable them to hone their skills further. Launched by the promoters, Lifestyle GOLF in association with the Women’s Professional Golf Association, the series will consist of 8 tournaments to be held around South Africa. From everything small comes something big – Founder of Lifestyle Golf, Jenny Havenga Lifestyle Developers



How did you get into golf and what made you enrol into the BSI PGA Diploma? A. At a young age my dad and I would play golf together but as I got older, I lost interest in the game and decided to explore other options. Only at around 17 years old, did I get back into the game and start to really enjoy it, as that was when my family moved to the Eye of Africa Golf Estate. My parents wanted to give me the option to play golf with them instead of sitting alone at home on Saturday mornings, so I decided to give it a try again. I fell in love with the game all over again. When it was time to decide on my future, I had no idea what to do, all I knew was, I really enjoyed playing golf. After a lot of research, we came across Balderstone Sports Institute and decided to give it a shot. My family and I decided to go to two Open Days to make sure this is what I wanted, and before I knew it, there I was standing on Huddle Parks premises starting Day 1 Who has been your biggest influence with regards to golf? A. When it was time to decide on my future, I had no idea what to do, all I knew was, I really enjoyed playing golf. After a lot of research, we came across Balderstone Sports Institute and decided to give it a shot. My family and I decided to go to two Open Days to make sure this is what I wanted, and before I knew it, there I was standing on Huddle Parks premises starting Day 1 What was your most memorable moments/ highlights during your three years in the PGA Diploma? A. My initial memory was on the first day of me arriving at BSI. I was the only girl in my class and felt a little intimidated, but realised over time, that this was where I belonged and started to feel comfortable amongst my male peers, and today can call my fellow graduates, Family. My highlights would have been to play against the coaches during our last days of the diploma, in the 3rd Years vs Staff match, and the other is the BSI Team Challenge (1st vs 2nd vs 3rd Years and our Junior Academy), and the fact that us Final years really had zero luck, as we did not win one point.Despite the loss, me making new friends and new memories with everyone at the Academy has been incredible. So, I can honestly say that through golf, I have been able to meet new people every single day and this has opened up many opportunities in my life. Understanding and getting to know all the various career path ways in the ‘Business World of Golf’ has really helped me set my future plans. You completed your PGA Diploma and continued with your studies, enrolling into the BSI Greenkeeping/ Turf Management course, what made you decide to take on the Greenkeeping course? Being a female in this male dominant industry I wanted to set myself apart from everyone else. Every day I look at a golf course through my untrained eyes, and I always wanted to know the details and intricacies within the management of a golf course. I wanted to learn and be part of the entire industry and identify the small details, from the moment you drive into golf club to sinking the last putt on the 18th green, I want to be the person that makes it a special place for people to come play and enjoy the game of golf. How have things been going doing your practical hours at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Course? Really awesome. On the Greenkeeping side, I get to work in bright open spaces and use machinery that enables and can transform an area of what we think is boring grass to a multi-million dollar playground for so many people to enjoy (except when they are in the rough). I’m learning a lot from the Greenkeeping staff and I am truly grateful to BSI Greenkeeping graduate and Course Manager at Royal J&K, Jerry Steyn, for imparting all his knowledge. I am also getting some experience with Chris Bentley, CEO of Royal J&K, as he has also given me the opportunity to shadow him and see how one manages one of the top golf clubs in Africa. What will be doing after you qualify as a Greenkeeper? A. I will be leaving to America in September 2023, and will be working at Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA. Frenchman’s Creek is a luxury residential country club community, and whilst I work there will further my learning in customer service at the highest of industry levels. When I joined the Academy, I was the only girl in my class and it terrified me, but every day that went past I realised that we all equal no matter if someone hits the ball further than you, you can still finish the game in the same amount of shots or even less. The opportunities given to each and every one is the same. You are on par with everyone! If you had to give a 17-year old Sammy advice from what you have experienced in this past 4 years, what would it be? • Don’t do your assignments the night before.• Always step out of your comfort zones.• Do not let people decide your future.• Have confidence in every little thing you do even if you have no clue what you are doing.


SADGA – Becker Inspired by Physically- Disabled Golfer Maehler

Aspiring PGA Professional Chinell Becker has found coaching physically disabled golfer Emil Maehler to be both rewarding and inspiring. Coaching Maehler (who has severe Cerebral Palsy) has been a novel experience for the multi-talented Becker. How does someone who has complete command over their body – representing the Free State in five different sports at school – relate to and instruct someone whose movement and coordination is limited? By making every effort to simulate their reality as far as possible.

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q&a with eleonora galletti

By Balderstone sports institute How did you get into golf and at what age? A. Golf wasn’t a choice of mine when I first started, my father was passionate about the sport and got me into the sport from the young age of 6, taking me to lots of lessons and entering me into “Little Kids Golf” tournaments, and ever since I have just followed through with the sport and loved it ever since. What made you enrol at BSI in 2016 as a high school student in their Junior Academy Golf Program? A. I first attended St Teresa’s School from primary to high school. I never had much time to practice seriously during the week, so I would only practice on the weekends. I was also always away for golf tournaments, but still managed to keep up with school work. In the beginning of Grade 11 my family and I got to hear and know about BSI (then known as TGSE), we did some research and thought it would be a great balance between school work and golf, where I would attend school from 08:00am – 12:00pm and then from 1:00pm – 5:00pm we would have gym and golf training. Yes, the days were longer but more balanced for me, an aspiring serious golfer, and so we jumped to the opportunity to enrol. You were enrolled into a sports specific high school program, and you matriculated through the BSI Study Centre. How did you find this help with: (A) Academics – Time and flexibility A. In terms of time and flexibility – this program helped my academic side owing to the fact that we could do the school work at our own pace, as long as we met the deadlines. (B) your golf game A. This program specifically caters for a balanced structure between academics and sports in its schedule. As I said, the days were longer than I was used to at St Teresa’s but it enabled me to really focus more on my golf, which before was not so possible. Since graduating from High School, what has your career journey been? A. I matriculated in 2017 with a Bachelors Pass, and in 2018 I took a gap year where I worked for some promotion companies part-time in order to earn some money and played a lot of golf. Then in 2019 I started university and enrolled in Varsity College where I studied a Bachelor in Corporate Communications until 2021 and graduated with Cum Laude. Near the end of my university path, I received an opportunity to work part-time (until I finished my studies) in the Financial Department as a Financial Administrator at a Corporate Investments company in Sandton, and now have been working there full-time ever since. INTERESTED IN BALDERSTONE SPORTS INSTITUTE? Visit their website to learn more about their tailor-made education for talented and dedicated students.

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St. Francis win ends Bredenhann’s 11-year wait for professional title

Namibian professional golfer, Bonita Bredenhann says she is relieved to have ended her 11-year wait for a professional victory and that her one-stroke victory over Nadia van der Westhuizen in the Standard Bank Pro-Am series event held at St. Francis Links last week will always remain a highlight of her career.

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