Tinashe Kusema —
“SO what did you do today?” For the ordinary man, the answer to this question is usually very simple. For kids it gets even simpler as their day usually revolves around three things: eating, playing and sleeping. Depending on the age, one can throw in school in-between any of those three.
However, for 14-year-old Danielle Bekker, life is anything but that simple.
“I wake up around six in the morning, get my stuff ready and head out for school. School ends around lunchtime, after which I go to the range and practice,” said Bekker detailing what can best be described as a slow week.
Bekker is Zimbabwe’s latest golf sensation and she puts the hard work into her game.
“Danielle is very much focused on her career,” chaid Danielle’s mother, Illonka. “She practices a lot, playing at least three rounds of 18 every week. When she is not playing a round of golf, she is either at the range, working on her swing, or in the gym. This can take up anything from three to five hours of her day.”
With a budding golf star in the house the Bekker family has had to adjust their lifestyle to suit Danielle’s schedule.
“My husband no longer works full-time, so he can travel with her when she is playing overseas,” revealed the starlet’s mother. “We have also had to make many adjustments for her, like taking her away from Gateway Junior School where they did not permit her to train as much as she should.”
The hard work is paying off.
She has quickly brought her handicap down to 12 and has won several accolades as she incerasingly becomes a permanent feature at international junior golf tournaments.
Under the tutelage of Cathy Riley at Chapman Golf she won her first tournament, the Harare Provincial Strokeplay, back in 2013.
Later that year she came second in the Junior Africa Challenge at Zebula, South Africa – a performance that granted Bekker automatic entry into to the Malaysian Open, the European Open and the World Championships.
Last year was a good one for Bekker as she took part in the Zimbabwe Open and was named the Junior Sportswoman and Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
She recently helped the Zimbabwe Ladies team to second place, behind South Africa, at the BancABC All-Africa Junior Challenge.
While travelling can be taxing Bekker loves seeing new places.
“The best part about golf is that you get to travel. If I was to name my favourite destination then that would be the United States. I was in Las Vegas (in the US) playing a tournament some time ago, and during one of my off days we went for a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. It was fun,” she beamed.