Erica Lefson hands over the reins of Women’s Golf to Cynthia Rayner

At the Annual General Meeting of Women’s Golf South Africa, held at Rustenburg Golf Club last night, Cynthia Rayner was elected as President, taking over from Erica Lefson who has been in the chair for the past three years.

Karen Olivant from KwaZulu Natal was elected as Vice-President.

After eight years on the WGSA Executive, Erica leaves a strong legacy of growth in the game, growth in the players and growth in the future. Her mission is to keep golf moving forward and get the best for women’s golfers in this country.

Regarding Growing the Game, she started the Girls love Golf programme – doubling the number of junior numbers in three years. Young girls are being given more opportunities with provinces supporting the programme by adding provincial junior events to their calendars.

In order to Grow the Players, she initiated regular and ongoing squad camps including the top senior and junior golfers. These squads help in building both the players character and team spirit, as well as assisting the players technically. They are supervised by experienced national coach Val Holland and fitness expert Sandra Winter.

International competition is the best way to prepare players for a future in golf. WGSA has given players numerous opportunities in this regard – growing relationships with other countries and letting players feel pressure out of their comfort zones. The finest reward for these initiatives was the South African team finishing third in the recent World Amateur Team Championships in Argentina.

In Growing the Future, the continuous pressure to bring golf under one national umbrella by government led to two years of meetings with SAGA. Erica believes that this can be achieved without undermining the WGSA and SAGA bodies which will continue to function with executives from each province still sitting on the respective bodies.

Prior to her work on provincial and national executives, Erica ran the South African Women’s Professional tour after having completed a very successful career in the clothing industry and later in property development – a business in which she is still involved.

She comes from a family of golfers – both her mother and step-mother were top South African golfers, her daughter Joanne represented South Africa and was also a professional and her son runs Men’s Golf in the Western Province.

After managing South African junior girls at the Harder German Junior Masters for two years, she has initiated the KeNako World Junior Masters tournament to be played in South Africa from 8 to 10 March 2011 – the first World Junior Golf Series to be played in South Africa.

She is passionate about golf and has certainly raised the profile of Women’s Golf in South Africa over these years.

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