REACHING FOR THE STARS
Zara le Keur’s steely determination, talent and strong values have all set her in the right direction, on and off the golf course. Cody Hansen
GOLFRSA SQUAD WATCH
At least once in our lifetimes, we wonder what made us the person we are today. For university student Zara le Keur, it’s an easy answer: family, golf and education.
“We are a close-knit family and my parents have always been my biggest champions, whether on the academic front, or on the golf course,” says the first-year Stellenbosch University (SU) student.
“They encouraged me to reach for the stars; in fact, as a young girl I wanted to be an astronaut and they let me live that dream. It’s such a privilege to have parents who support you as you navigate your journey to find your purpose in life.”
Le Keur’s love affair with the sport was set in motion by her father, Wayne. From a young age, she would tag along with him to the Momentum Driving Range on Sundays. The Mitchell’s Plain resident never considered golf as a career sport until she was 14 years old, and a chance meeting with teaching professional Kurt Stripp changed her life.
Stripp was so impressed with Le Keur’s natural swing that he pressed Wayne to enrol her in a coaching programme, and with her dad’s encouragement she started lessons. Within a year she was handicapped at Royal Cape Golf Club and a brace of B-Division victories on the Western Province junior circuit marked a great start to her golfing journey.
Learn more about Zara le Keur’s values and goals.
The value golf has given me is hard to quantify because it impacts positively on your game and life
In 2019, Le Keur won the Ladies Club Championship at her home course and soon after, she was enrolled in the Western Province Women’s Golf Development Programme and began competing on the GolfRSA national junior circuit.
Driven by a desire to perform and achieve at the highest possible level, her meteoric rise within the junior ranks earned her the Womens Golf South Africa’s Most Improved Junior Player of the Year in 2022, and an induction into the GolfRSA Women's National Squad.
“The 2021 season was a huge one for me,” says Le Keur. “I achieved many of the goals I set, like improving my ranking and making the Western Province team for the SA Women’s Inter-Provincial, which we won at Rondebosch Golf Club.
“Being on the GolfRSA Women’s National Squad is next level. You are exposed to top-notch coaches, fitness and mental specialists, and you get to play and travel with the best in the country. The value golf has given me is hard to quantify because it impacts positively on your game and life.
THE BEST OF
Zara le Keur’s favourites.
“I grew up in Mitchell’s Plain where there are many socio-economic problems such as poverty, crime and drug abuse. Golf was a way out. My dad got me playing tournaments and made a lot of sacrifices so that I could achieve what I have, and more. My parents protected me from those things which could affect me negatively.
“When I have the means and my studies are stable, I would love to give back to the community. My father and I have spoken about starting a clinic for the kids in Mitchell’s Plain, so they can be exposed to golf like I was and we can show them that there are opportunities out there.
“Golf has taught me so many incredibly valuable lessons and shaped me as a person. I rate things like honesty, integrity and etiquette highly, and golf challenges you on a personal level, which prepares you to face the academic and personal challenges in life. It also keeps you grounded.”
Get to know Zara le Keur.
My passion for mathematics and science drove me to study engineering. I love the problem-solving aspect of it
Le Keur graduated from Mondale High School in 2022 with five distinctions and packed her bags to pursue a degree in chemical engineering at SU, where she is flourishing.
“My passion for mathematics and science drove me to study engineering. I love the problem-solving aspect of it, just as I love finding a way to score well on the golf course,” she says.
Academic demands have meant Le Keur has had to cut back on golf this year, but she knows that to become a star performer, you have to put in the work and make sacrifices.
“Golf has taken a bit of a step back this year because I had to get used to a new environment and adapt to university. My degree is very demanding. I have tests every day, but I play and practise when I can. There’s a park opposite my residence called the Jan Marais Park, so although I’m not able to go to the golf course every day, I practise wedge shots in the park,” says Le Keur.
Having successfully navigated her first semester of university and despite a lack of playing time, Le Keur finished tie-eighth at the Western Province Nomads Junior Girls Championship in July – which marked her first national tournament in over a year.
“I really love the game of golf, and not being able to play it at the end of matric and the start of first year because of my studies was very hard, but my goal is to get back into the Western Province teams and represent South Africa at international tournaments. Playing for my country has always been one of my goals, and I believe that with hard work I will be able to do that.”
GOLFRSA/CODY HANSEN/TRISTAN JONES/LET