MASERU – Lesotho may soon have new faces in its professional golfing ranks.
Four golfers are being trained and inspected by Lesotho’s sole professional golfer Motlalentoa Moloi and are now in the final stages of a long road to professional golf.
The players at the finishing school are Baitsi Motsamai, Tieho Mochebele, Tlotliso Khabo and Tung-Nan Lin, all of whom have been amateurs for at least four years.
“I’m just helping them with the rules of the game and the general challenges they will face in the professional game,” Moloi told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday.
The hopefuls will undergo intensive training, including tournaments, and Moloi said the plan was get them equipped for professional golf by the beginning of next year.
“I’m confident that they will all make it,” Moloi said, “A professional South African golfer, Oma Sendis, is also helping me and they are doing well.”
However Moloi admitted professional golf is no cakewalk. Few beginners earn a living from playing golf and the perilous realities of the professional arena are illustrated by stats in neighbouring South Africa where nine out of 18 players who turned professional at the start of 2009 were yet to win their first paycheque at the end of last month.
With costs – travel, accommodation, caddie fees and meals – of attending a tournament averaging at least M4 000 life on the tour is not easy.
“That fear is there but for them it is better because they have come through the development programme. So they should receive some backing,” Moloi said.
“My situation was different because I came up on my own, playing mostly in South Africa.”
The dearth of golf tournaments is also a concern. This has been due to delays to the Lesotho Golf Association’s annual general meeting. Events such as the Captain’s Cup and the Club Championship have been affected.
The AGM will now be held on Sunday.
Moloi has also received an invitation to participate in golf’s World Cup qualifiers from August 27 to 30 in Malaysia. The championships are reward for professional golfers and Moloi’s toils have been recognised.
“The invitation arrived yesterday,” Moloi told the Lesotho Times, “It seems the accommodation will be paid for. All we need is to get tickets for us to go.”
Moloi said he hoped to go to the two-man team event with Motsamai.
“There is a momentum shift of late and things are progressing. Hopefully the incoming board will take it further and secure the futures of these young golfers coming through in the country,” Moloi said.