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Flying high with birdies and eagles

Written by Allison Cooper

Becoming a professional golfer is not easy by anyone’s measure.

Siviwe DumaBut two women from an East London township have realised this dream.

Dedicating their lives to golf is paying off for sisters Yolanda (28) and Siviwe (30) Duma.

The determined duo from Mdantsane township in East London turned professional in January 2017.

They were introduced to golf by their father. At the time, Yolanda was eight and Siviwe was 10. “Once I started playing and developed a love of the game, it was my dream to turn pro,” said Yolanda.

Both sisters have already played two seasons of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and are looking forward to the next season, which starts at the end of January 2019.

Professional golfer Michelle De Vries took the sisters under her wing in 1999 and introduced them to the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), Border Ladies Golf, the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation and Women's Golf South Africa.

“Making the teams to play outside of East London and getting to travel to various parts of the world are some of the highlights of my golfing career. If it wasn't for golf, I would not have been overseas,” said Yolanda, who encourages aspiring pro golfers to not give up.

Being a pro golfer and coming from a poor background is not easy. The sisters have to travel a lot and pay for various expenses, including accommodation and tournament costs.

Siviwe’s journey before turning pro was overwhelming and exciting. “As a township junior girl golfer, I got to travel to other provinces and golf supported me financially. I was inspired when I was selected to represent my province at an early age and by the financial support we received from the SAGDB, Border Ladies Golf and the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation,” she said.

In the future, Siviwe wants to win a pro tournament.

Her personal motto is that once you taste a win, you want to win all the time.

To those aiming to turn pro, she urges you to be your own biggest fan. “Consistency is harder when no one is clapping for you and you are not getting recognition. You must clap for yourself during those times,” she said.

Both sisters now need to find a sponsor. Until this happens, they have to host an annual golf day to help them to raise the funds they need to play tournaments. Their next fundraising golf day will be held on 7 December at the Westbank Golf Club in East London. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact de Vries at 082 453 7298.