1 February 2023 – Seven new players have been welcomed into the GolfRSA Women’s National Squad as GolfRSA continues to identify and develop the country’s most promising amateur talents.
The Class of 2023 features three groups. With eight members from last year’s programme graduating to higher tiers, the Elite Group will consist of 12 players and the B-Group has six players.
The C-Group – the most junior division – is where the new inductees who have earned their invitations will start their journey with the GolfRSA National Squad. The new inductees are KwaZulu-Natal pair Charlotte Millard (16) and Olivia Wood (16), Boland’s Erica Chen (16), Shivania Kalimuthu (15) and Casey Twidale (14) from Central Gauteng and Gauteng North duo Lea van der Merwe (14) and Kaylee Webster (14).
“We are delighted to welcome our seven new inductees to the opportunity to benefit from the GolfRSA National Squad system,” said Womens Golf South Africa President Sarah Braude.
“The men’s and women’s national squad provide a platform for talented golfers to further develop their skills and test themselves through local and international competition, while enabling GolfRSA to produce stronger national teams.
“We are further excited to announce that Gia Raad from Central Gauteng, Alessia Goussard from Boland, Southern Cape’s Jasmine Furstenburg and Lisa Coetzer from Ekurhuleni have graduated to the B-Group, while 2022 C-Group inductee, Zane Kleynhans from Gauteng North, moves up to the Elite Group.
“Congratulations also to Kesha Louw from Border, as well as Kera Healey and our reigning Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl champion Stephanie Barbaglia from Central Gauteng on advancing from the 2022 B-Group to the Elite Group.”
Healey enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in August 2022, while Barbaglia and Whateley completed their high school careers in December 2022.
“Stephanie joined San Diego State University in January this year and when Samantha, who graduated with four distinctions, joins Mississippi State University in August, we will have no less than eight Elite Group members playing collegiate golf in the United States,” Braude added. “Another member of the squad, Zara le Keur, also graduated high school in December 2022 with five distinctions and the Western Province golfer will continue in the B-Group while she begins to pursue a degree in chemical engineering at Stellenbosch University this year.”
The seven new members had their first taste of the programme during their first national squad camp held at Serengeti Estates in January.
“We invited the new inductees to join our first camp of the year at Serengeti Estates, where they were introduced to the national squad coaches and consultants, given proper assessments and had the chance to mix with the Elite, B- and C-Group members already entrenched in the programme,” Braude said.
“We were also fortunate to get former squad member and now professional golfer Kaleigh Telfer to do a Q&A with the players. Kaleigh is a former SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion who represented South Africa at international level at the Youth Olympics, the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup, the World Amateur Teams Championship and she was the first South African golfer to receive a coveted invitation to the inaugural Augusta Women’s Amateur Invitational.
“It was wonderful to have Kaleigh share her experience and knowledge with the squad members and talk about her college years at Auburn University and the road to becoming a tour professional.”
The GolfRSA Men’s and Women’s National Squads are well supported by an effective group of professionals. In the women’s squad this responsibility falls to national coaches Val Holland and Anna Becker-Frankel, biokineticist Bianca Bloemhof, sport psychologists Grant Flaum and Shaun Landsberg, and Costanza Trussoni, who runs the Trackman analysis with the squad members.
“These individuals work hand-in-hand with the players’ own coaches and support teams towards giving the players every possible opportunity to improve and advance,” Braude explained.
“In addition to individual attention, we host several camps during the year with high-intensity training and evaluations, sometimes with smaller groups and on other occasions, with the whole squad. We are very grateful for the funding we receive that enables us to take give our squad members every opportunity to excel and the staff and consultants that work with us to prepare our members for the international amateur stage and beyond.”
The GolfRSA National Men and Women’s Squads were launched in 2015, thanks to a generous R15-million donation from GolfRSA Chairman of the Board Johann Rupert, and members from both squads have been achieving exceptional results nationally and abroad.
“The GolfRSA National Squad system provides a valuable platform for South Africa’s talented young golfers to receive the best preparation possible,” said GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn.
“South Africa has a long history of producing world-class golfers and, since the introduction of the squad programme, our amateurs has done us proud on the global stage. In addition to a spate of victories in highly-ranked international events, many of our graduates have successfully transcended to the pro ranks and in the last five years, have achieved victories on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, Challenge Tour, Sunshine Tour, Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Big Easy Tour.
“With this year’s junior intake, GolfRSA continues to lay a solid foundation in women’s golf for success in preparing these young players to represent South Africa on the world stage, as amateurs and later, as professionals.”
2023 GOLFRSA WOMEN’S NATIONAL SQUAD
Caitlyn Macnab (Texas Christian University)
Casey Twidale *
Charlotte Millard *
Ellandri van Heerden
Kaitlyn van de Vyver
Kaiyuree Moodley (University of North Carolina – Charlotte)
Kajal Mistry (University of Arkansas)
Kaylah Williams (Florida State University)
Kaylee Webster *
Kera Healey (University of Tennessee – Chattanooga)
Kyra van Kan
Lea van der Merwe *
Megan StreIcher (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill)
Olivia Wood *
Samantha Whateley (Mississippi State University | 2023 intake)
Shivania Kalimuthu *
Stephanie Barbaglia (San Diego State University | 2023 intake)
Zara le Keur (Stellenbosch University | 2023 intake)