Former Women’s World Cup of Golf Operations Director, Lesley Copeman, has spoken about the reasons behind her departure from the prestigious tournament.
Copeman, who left the WWC and the Ladies African Tour on 3 October 2007 to pursue other interests, told gsport she felt it was time to close "this particular chapter of my life".
"I leave the WWC with mixed feelings – remember I helped give birth to the tournament, but I became a professional golfer because I am passionate about golf. I have only played golf five times this year – and it is November!
"I also found that I had no time to follow my real passion which is coaching golf. I don’t think anyone not directly involved in the WWC would understand the hours of dedication required. I am tired of the stress and feel I want to stop and smell the roses a little – hell and I want to play golf! My bother hasn’t beaten me at golf for 30 years – and I am fearful that I may not be able to retain the Family Championship Trophy this year!"
Copeman, who is also South Africa’s top women’s golf coach, said she considered a sabbatical but she is not the kind of person to rest for too long. So, she is renovating her Johannesburg home and I am turning it into a guesthouse, and she is moving to Parys in December and plans to open a restaurant there early next year.
"The plan is to have a beautifully richly decorated place with wonderful food and fabulous live music. I already have the premises and begin renovations in December. Parys is a booming little town that is fast growing as a centre for arts, crafts and antiques.
"There are now also three golf courses in Parys including the Nick Price Vaal de Grace course which is due to open shortly. I would love to get back to my passion which is coaching and I am currently in discussions with certain parties to achieve this goal."
Looking back at her role with the WWC, Copeman said the best part of the job was definitely the golf operations side of the business. She added that it was wonderful to work with the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA in setting up the course.
"I really enjoyed overseeing the actual running of the event. I am first and foremost a golfer and having played in professional tournaments I felt that I could contribute from both a player and administrative point of view.
"I also loved designing and setting up the infrastructure for the event – it is great to picture where the grandstands and hospitality tents etc should go and then see it all come together. How you design those elements gives the event its personality."
Copeman said her two biggest highlights were, walking out on the Monday pre-tournament at Fancourt (the first WWC) and seeing the leaderboard being erected on the 18th hole, and seeing Annika Sorenstam walk on to the first tee in 2006 and hearing the reception she received from the very large crowd.
"I realized that women’s professional golf had come of age in South Africa."