Sharpeville golfer, Tebello Mokhema, encourages more women to take up golf as she started playing the sport in her 30s.
Mokhema, who is captain of the Crowned Plover Ladies Golf Club, wants to use her platform to share her experience and knowledge with the youth who want to pursue their dreams in the sport.
She says that the golf club is the perfect environment for women and girls to learn the basics and develop their skills.
On a personal note, Mokhema aims to play golf into her old age and is eager to attend the Solheim Cup tournament.
Her highlights to date include touring the world and being added to the Blue Valley Club.
Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Mokhema reveals what she has learned about herself through playing golf and how media can amplify the coverage of the sport.
Tebello, thank you for chatting to us. Please tell us about yourself and where you are from.
I was born and bred in Sharpeville, studied in Durban and worked up to executive position for 25 years. I recently ventured into the world of entrepreneurship as a leadership development consultant and crypto user.
When and where did your love for sport begin?
Growing up I played tennis, representing my school and district in several competitions. At varsity, I played soccer (six aside), became an aerobics instructor and did this for several years. So, the love for golf was a natural progression, I suppose.
You started playing golf in 2002, what is it about golf that attracted you to the sport?
Interestingly, it was a need to run away from being a ‘golf widow’. My ex-husband played the game and I eventually decided to join him. He taught me the basics and I took some lessons through Nedbank at the World of Golf and as they say, the rest is history.
You are the captain of a ladies’ golf social club. Please tell us more about the club and being the captain.
The name of the club is Crowned Plover Ladies Golf Club, which was established in 2002, in Gauteng. The primary objective of the club is to encourage youth and women to play social golf. The Club consists of members from different backgrounds throughout South Africa. Some of the best social female golf players I have met are in this group. The role of captain means, I organise games for the club and ensure that members are kept up to date with changes in the game. We maintain the spirit of the game on and off the course.
What has golf taught you?
Humility and Remaining Calm – It doesn’t matter how bad my game is, I will always keep a calm demeanour.
Coaching – Helping a fellow player to focus on one element of their game that they can improve on and encouraging them when they achieve the goal.
Respect – I have to not only respect myself but others on the golf course.
To Never Stop Learning -There is always room for improvement. No matter what I am doing in life I can always be better, I can always continue to work and grow to become the best version possible.
Creating and Holding Focus – You must be a focused person to improve in the game of golf. Focusing on your goals or keeping your attention on the task at hand however long you need to, is a very positive skill.
Planning for the game is important – Showing up at the game is even more critical…how I look, how I perform, how I respond to good and bad shots. Once you have hit the shot it is gone, the next shot will not be the same.
Focus on the Now – If you spend time thinking about the bad shots, you will not enjoy the good ones; if you spend time focusing and dwelling on the good shots, you may not see the bad one coming.
Reflection is Key – Reflect on the game and decide where you will improve and where you will remain consistent.
It is Important to Finish – In life you cannot start, and then give up. You need to finish the game called life.
What do you enjoy most about playing golf?
Being in South Africa, I enjoy the good weather that we are blessed with (the sun, the air and the green conditions of the courses). I enjoy meeting new people and lastly, I enjoy challenging myself to become a better player.
What are the challenges you have faced and how have you been able to overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been the perception that black women are not good at playing golf. You sometimes see when you meet people for the first time; especially with caddies (the patriarchal stereotypes are still very much in existence) – you only get respect from those who know the quality of the game.
What is the state of women’s golf in Gauteng and how can it be improved in your opinion?
There is still a lot to be done to improve the state of golf in our country. The media does not do justice about reporting on the women’s golf or any women’s sports for that matter. The costs of starting and continuing the game is still very high and prohibitive for most people. More women need to join golf clubs and play in the league games – best way to learn the game on the run.
What has been the highlights of your career in golf?
Playing golf in Europe, Asia and Morocco. The cups I have won (filling up at home); being captain of the Crowned Plover Ladies Club. The best is winning the ladies competition in 2017 and having my name added at my club, Blue Valley (the name will be there for eternity).
What’s your advice to young girls who want to play golf and make career out of it?
I say that they should go for it. I started playing in my 30s and I wish I had started earlier, however the rules didn’t allow us to play then. Go for it, it will be challenging, and you will want to give up, however keep your eyes on the final prize.
Who are some of the sportswomen you admire?
Lydia Ko, Nobuhle Dlamini, Ariya Jutanugarn, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.
What is your greatest ambition?
To use my voice to encourage people to achieve their goals. To attend and watch the Solheim Cup and continue to play into my old age.
What do you think we as media can do to amplify women’s sports coverage?
I think that it is simple – include a report about women’s sport in each sports bulletin (not only when there are big competitions) and include reports about women’s sport in print media. It is not about who follows or sponsors the sport, it is about starting and creating interest in the sport.
Photo 1 Caption: Sharpeville golfer, Tebello Mokhema, encourages more women to take up golf as she started playing the sport in her 30s. Photo: Supplied