Rising Star

The ideal path for many aspirants is to land a scholarship, enjoy prominence on the US college circuit and then return home to South Africa with a surplus of confidence and the reckoning to make a major impact.

This wasn’t the case for Danielle du Toit, the 25-year-old golf starlet who recently spent five years at Purdue University in Indiana. “I didn’t have the greatest time,” she admits. “I didn’t use the opportunity to the fullest. When you’re young, you think you know everything. I never bought into the culture. I ended up a worse golfer and I do regret that.”

But it wasn’t all bad. Lessons were learned. “I’m a much better person for the experience, so I don’t regret it.”

What’s more, she also graduated in 2023 with a double major (financial engineering and political science) that suggests Purdue delivered in areas other than golf.

Du Toit has come full circle. She’s back in Pretoria, living with her mum and two sisters – her parents were divorced when she was in the US – and even back at school. She plays a mentoring role at Menlo Park Hoërskool (her alma mater), helping out with their burgeoning golf academy, which her mother set up in 2015 on the basis that golf had done so much for Danielle. From four golfers at the start to almost 100 is testimony to the youngsters’ appetite for the game and the success in nurturing them.


Quickfire with the newest South African player on the Ladies European Tour.

watch now!

Du Toit’s own game has been on the rise in recent months. As an amateur she won the 2023 Ekurhuleni Open and finished second at the Gauteng North Women’s Open. More recently, she earned her Ladies European Tour card through Q-School, a gruelling precursor to her opting to turn professional.

After a difficult start at Q-School in Marrakesh, going six over par after the first nine of the second round, she went 16 under to finish on 10 under for the tournament.

It ensured full membership to Europe, and she was delighted. “It was a dream come true.”

But reality hit quickly. The rigours of travel shocked her and she missed her first cut as a professional.

It never dulled her confidence, but it did remind her that the paid game is much different to the amateurs. “As a rookie, I have so much to learn.”

Thankfully, her foundation is rock-solid. Despite being the only golfer in her family, she was encouraged from an early age. The first signs of precocious form came as a six-year-old when she hit rocks with a stick while on holiday with friends. One of the onlooking parents had been involved with the Women’s World Cup of Golf and suggested to Danielle’s family that she take lessons.


Off the course with Du Toit.

I took all my lessons to Q-School and exponentially grew my golf and my spiritual level

She duly signed up at Pretoria Country Club, but golf was just one of many pursuits as young Du Toit tried her hand at almost everything: tennis, hockey, cricket, netball, and squash.

"I was a real tomboy,” she laughs.

She won several Kids Golf events and travelled to the US for the first time when she was 11. She met her coach Nico van Eeden and the pair forged a partnership that remains almost 15 years later. Van Eeden also runs the school academy and has kept a sharp eye on Du Toit’s form.

She cracked the Gauteng North senior side while in Grade 8 and travelled to India and Germany for competitions. She came into her own in Grade 11, winning the SA Girls championship, plus several GolfRSA events that led to Junior Protea colours and a call from Purdue.

Despite her many athletic pursuits, she managed to keep her head in her books too. She earned five distinctions in her final year, in 2017, missing one for English by a single percent. Around the same time, she also won the All-India Amateur championship.

If her form has waxed and waned, her faith has always been rock-steady. Du Toit says her parents’ divorce and her experience at college in the US grounded her and renewed her faith.

“I took all my lessons to Q-School and exponentially grew my golf and my spiritual level,” she says, clearly proud of how she pulled through and laid down a marker for a bold crack at the pro game.

Both skilled and smart, the building blocks are well in place. Du Toit knows what must be done.