Rising Ugandan golfer, Keisha Wiltshire Kagoro is working hard to attract sponsors to make her dreams of being part of the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour and playing the Women’s PGA Championship a reality.
At 6, Kagoro featured in her first local tournament at Uganda Golf Club, although she cannot recall every detail about the event, she does remember the excitement of taking part.
Five years later, her passion for the sport has grown in leaps and bounds, as she boasts an impressive list of achievements.
Juggling education and a sporting career is a challenge but Kagoro admits golf has taught her life skills that allow her to plan life both on and off the course.
With a promising career, Kagoro draws inspiration from Ladies Sunshine Tour winner, Nobuhle Dlamini anLPGA’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Michelle Holmes, who she hopes to emulate in future.
Speaking with Celine Abrahams, Kagoro chats about her parents support of her golf career and her desire to launch a golf academy for kids at a later stage of her career.
Keisha, thank you for chatting to us! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Greetings Celine! I am so happy and honoured for being given an opportunity by gsport4girls to talk about myself.
My name is Keisha Wiltshire Kagoro and I am 11-years old. I am in Grade 6 at Thornhill Primary School located in Gaborone, Botswana and a budding junior golf player from Uganda.
Where does your passion for golf come from?
I come from a family of golf players i.e my grandfather, father and uncle who are always keen to track my progress. And, my coach Mpho Kelosiwang who is always there to support my progress.
“Golf has taught me life skills that I also use in my everyday life.” – Rising Ugandan golfer, Keisha Wiltshire Kagoro
My biggest source of passion is my love for the game of golf. Golf has taught me life skills that I also use in my everyday life. Golf has taught me discipline in keeping time, respect for everyone. It has taught me how to think first before I make any move.
I love Golf because it is very rewarding. The more I practice, the more confidence I get when I am on the course and more wins in the tournaments. The reward is the pride I feel when I raise my country’s flag as a winner at international tournaments. I love golf because I have made many new friends around the world who inspire me to get better each day. This keeps me motivated.
When was your first competition and what was that moment like for you?
My first local competition was in December 2014 at the Uganda Golf Club. I was only 6 years old and I was still in kindergarten at Daffodils Kindergarten – in Kampala, Uganda. I barely remember the details because I was very young at the time. I remember it was exciting to hit the balls with my new clubs and exciting to see many children competing too.
I qualified for my first international golf tournament in August 2018 at the SA Kids Junior Africa Challenge at San Lameer Country Club in South Africa after winning a local tournament organized by US kids at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf resort. It was a very exciting and tense moment for me. I was only 9 years old. It was very competitive as well I was playing with my peers that had had exposure to professional training for several years. However, I did the best I could and emerged 3rd in my category. I was so delighted because my efforts had paid off.
How do you manage to juggle education and sport?
“After I am done with my school assignments, I hit a minimum of 100 balls on the range each day and I continue to excel at both.” – Kagoro speaks on juggling school and her golf career.
I have learnt to schedule my day in such a way that I prioritize school first and then only make time for golf in my free time. After I am done with my school assignments, I hit a minimum of 100 balls on the range each day and I continue to excel at both.
How does your family play a role in helping you along with your journey?
My parents have supported me to grow my game of golf. At the age of 6, they bought me one of the best junior golf kits made by US kids golf. My mother takes me to the golf range every day after school for training with a professional coach and they ensure I have regular training. My parents have sacrificed a lot in terms of money and time to be with me on this journey and have encouraged me to carry on even when things look tough. I wouldn’t be this far without my family!
Which women in golf inspire you and why?
I look up to Nobuhle Dlamini from Eswatini who won the Ladies Sunshine Tour order of merit last year. She started golf at a tender age and despite all the hurdles she faced, she has managed to grow through the ranks.
I am inspired by LPGA Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand. She qualified for her first LPGA tour at the age of 11 which is my current age and managed to rise all the way to number one in golf rankings.
I am also inspired by LPGA Michelle Holmes because she started playing golf at a very young age just like me and has dedicated her time to introduce and teach many kids to the game of golf. I am glad to have met her at the US Kids championship in Naivasha, Kenya and in her words she said, “Keisha, you can make it!” That has never left my mind.
What are some of your biggest highlights so far in your young career?
April 2018 – 2nd position US kids Open at Lake Victoria Serena
Golf resort – a qualifier for my first international tournament Junior Africa Challenge
May 2018 – Attended the junior spring camp at St Andrews golf academy in Scotland
August 2018 – 3rd place, Junior Africa Challenge South Africa –qualifier for Malaysia Kids Golf
October 2018 – Winner US kids golf championship Naivasha Kenya
December 2018 – competed in the US Kids Malaysia tournament
May 2019 – Winner Emirates Schools golf tournament. Won a fully sponsored trip to attend Peter Cowen Golf Academy at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai
June 2019 – Attended Peter Cowen Golf Academy
August 2019 – Winner Junior Africa Challenge – San Lameer Country Club.
When you are not playing golf or busy with school, what other things do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy swimming because it helps me relax but most importantly keeps me fit and improves my golf swing. I like to play the piano and I am attending Spanish language classes.
What ambitions do you have for your golf career?
I dream of being part of LPGA and playing the Women’s PGA Championship. I am determined to work hard and shine so that companies such as Titleist, Taylormade, Callaways, Ping and Nike can sponsor me just like they do with some kids I have met in international tournaments.
In future, I wish to start up a golf academy so that I can support children that do not have access to professional golf training, introduce many young girls to the game of golf. Teach them, nurture them just like I am being taught.