Zanele Mazibuko is among a handful of female golfers at Tuks who are breaking down the stereotypical barriers surrounding the sport. The Sport Sciences student is swinging her way into public attention, showing us why women should be taken more seriously in golf.
What inspired you to enter such a male dominated sport?
My cousin and a few of my friends were all golfers so I would always accompany them whenever they went to practice. One day I picked up one of their clubs and aimed a ball at a hole. From then on, I began playing and never looked back. The fact that it was a male dominated sport didn’t demotivate me, instead [it] made me hungrier to play.
What are you looking to achieve with TuksGolf in 2017?
This year I will be completing my PGA hours here at Tuks. These are hours one has to put in on the golf course [in order] to become a professional.
How do you manage to balance golf and academics?
One thing I have learnt to manage properly is my time. I’m a full-time student, so I need to break down my hours according to my lecture timetable and practice schedule every week. A typical day for me would be to attend class in the morning, attend practice in the afternoon and then study right after practice. If I have any upcoming tournaments in a specific week, I spend a little extra time on the golf course and if it’s a test week, I spend more time on my books.
What are some of the challenges you face as a golfer?
Golf is an expensive sport. You are required to have their own equipment and apparel. So I struggle financially when it comes to golf. I can’t play in every single tournament because that also requires you to pay. This comes as a huge disadvantage to me because the more you play, the more experience you get and the more you improve at the sport.
What was your best event in 2016?
Playing in the 72-hole tournament where I represented the Free State province women’s golf team.
What is your ultimate goal as a golfer?
My ultimate goal is to “go pro”. I want to play golf at a professional level or work professionally in the golfing industry, perhaps as an instructor. I want to help young women who want to begin playing or improve in the sport, and I want to be able to show women that it is possible to succeed at anything through courage and perseverance.
What would you say to an aspiring women’s golfer?
I would tell her to follow her dream if golf is truly her passion. I would tell her to never get intimidated by the fact that this is a male dominated sport, and I would encourage her to work very hard and manage her time very well. Balancing your books and golf can be an intimidating task, and so it’s very easy for one to start believing that a certain sport isn’t for them when they don’t have the time for it due to a heavy workload.