Caitlyn Macnab is one of South Africa’s emerging athletes to be watched, at 18 she’s already represented her country in several top tournaments around the world. The Emerging Athlete of the Year finalist had a blistering start to 2020, winning the Aon South African Stroke Play Championship on her 18th birthday and Amateur Championships – a rare feat to reach in the same calendar year.
Don’t let her age fool you, Macnab is a force to be reckoned with in the women’s game. Her incredible performances on the course clearly indicate that she’s mastered the art of balancing school and living her dream as a professional golfer.
She dreams to one day play in the LPGA Tour but what warms the hearts of many is that Caitlyn loves to help the juniors that wish to one day follow in her footsteps.
The Benoni born teen, who played in her first competition on her 5th birthday, says women’s golf in SA could grow by leaps and bounds if we held tournaments where overseas players could come and test their skills on some of our beautiful courses.
Lonwabo Nkohla and Celine Abrahams had a chat with the soon to be superstar golfer.
A finalist in the Emerging athlete of the Year category, Congratulations! What does this recognition mean to you?
I’m extremely humbled and grateful to be nominated as a finalist in a field of such excellent women in sport. It’s an amazing opportunity and something I am very proud of.
You are representing GolfRSA alongside the Womens Golf South Africa President Sarah Braude in the Momentum gsport15 awards, who described you as a dominant force in golf. How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel extremely proud! It proves just how the hard work, countless hours and sacrifices that I, as well as the team behind me have made, are starting to pay dividends. It also proves the great work that GolfRSA and Women’s Golf SA have made in laying the great foundation they have in order for me to preform and play the game that I love.
What do you think of the current state of women’s golf in the country?
“I definitely think that SA has a very high standard of players. I do however, believe that women’s golf in SA could grow in leaps and bounds if we held tournaments where overseas players could come and test their skills on some of our beautiful courses up against our own field of players.” – Top-ranked amateur golfer, Caitlyn Macnab.
I definitely think that SA has a very high standard of players. I do however, believe that women’s golf in SA could grow in leaps and bounds if we held tournaments where overseas players could come and test their skills on some of our beautiful courses up against our own field of players. This will give all our players who haven’t yet had the opportunity to travel the awesome experience and exposure to play and learn from international players.
As a sportswoman that has represented her country on big stages across the globe, what would you like to see change in how society supports women in sport?
One thing I have noticed from traveling is that the top competing countries have a lot of support and sponsorship directed towards women’s sport. Although there has been a massive growth in women’s sport in SA, I still feel that there is a clear separation between the men and women. It is going to take time, but awards such as these, supported by Momentum and gsport will hugely help in growing women’s sport in the future.
Tell us more about the work you do to assist younger players?
It is extremely important to give back and help grow the game as much as possible. I volunteer my time to help at clinics for girls and underprivileged juniors as well as at fundraisers to share my love and young knowledge of the game. Golf is an incredible sport that can be played by all walks of life, and I find it extremely important to show people just how fun it can be.
You are so young with such an impressive list of achievements. What do you attribute your success to?
I have been extremely fortunate to have had incredible opportunities and support system behind me (my family, friends, team and GolfRSA + Women’s Golf SA). They are a huge part in my success thus far and I wouldn’t be here without them.
Nothing comes easy and I have had to be extremely dedicated and hard working to push through the tough times. My positivity, drive and will to succeed are what have gotten me this far and I am extremely excited to see what the future holds.
You had a blistering start to 2020 winning the Aon South African Stroke Play Championship on your 18th birthday and Amateur Championships – a rare feat to be reached in the same calendar year. How did you feel about this milestone?
“The fact that the championship fell over the week of my 18th birthday was out of this world, and being able to share the incredible moments with all my friends and family really made it a special week that I will always remember.” – Macnab on winning the Aon South African Stroke Play Championship and Amateur Championships in the same calendar year.
Winning both the SA Stroke Play and Match Play titles has been a dream of mine since I started playing women’s golf, so winning them both in the same year is honestly a dream come true! The fact that the championship fell over the week of my 18th birthday was out of this world, and being able to share the incredible moments with all my friends and family really made it a special week that I will always remember.
Do you feel any pressure being South Africa’s top-ranked amateur golfer?
Although there is definitely a lot of expectation from everyone for me to constantly perform, I am the only one who can make the results happen at the end of the day. There is no need for me to put any added pressure on myself, so I just try stay as positive as I can, stick to my routines and play the game that I love.
When you first started out in golf, did you think you would have achieved the kind of success that you have so rapidly?
My parents have always told me that I can achieve whatever I wanted to if I worked hard enough for it. I have had to make a lot of sacrifices and I have worked my butt off to get to where I am today, but I wouldn’t be here without the continuous love and support from of my team, friends and family who are behind me.
Any success story – even those in the making still – will have their hurdles. What has been your most challenging to get over?
I would definitely say that trying to balance school with the golf has been the most challenging. I am constantly travelling for different events, so I’ve had to be very devoted and dedicated in order to stay on top of all the schoolwork and not let my marks slip.
Which female golfers inspire you and why?
I honestly have so many names but I definitely say Annika Sörenstam. She is known to be the greatest women golfer of all the time, and has been a huge influence in developing the game into what it is today. She also has her own junior foundation and is extremely generous in giving as much back to the game that she possibly can.
Another big name would be Ashleigh Buhai. She is from South African and I’ve looked up to her since I started playing.
There’s no denying that you’ve done extremely well, what else is on your goals list, what is your greatest sporting ambition?
My ultimate goal is to play on the LPGA Tour and become the #1 player in the world. I also want to give as much back to the game as possible, and provide juniors the opportunity to pursue the sport that they love.