It has been a season to remember for 15-year-old Caitlyn Macnab, who was named the Under-19 Player of the Year by Ekurhuleni Women’s Golf in November.
The petite Ekurhuleni golfer – who packs a huge drive and a lethal short game – racked up eight top three finishes since March and one felt it was just a matter of time before she broke the winner’s tape.
It all came together on 10 September when Caitlyn won the Ekurhuleni Women’s Open at the Lake Club Benoni.
Two months later, the GolfRSA Elite Squad member beat ladies club champions from all over South Africa to win the Champion of Champions Ladies Final at Glendower.
Caitlyn holds the number five spot in Womens Golf South Africa’s Senior Rankings and is fourth in the Junior Rankings, but she is looking to finish the season on a high note. She made a fantastic start in the KwaZulu-Natal Junior Championship to open up a three-shot lead over the number one ranked junior Woo-Ju Son, who beat her at the second extra hole of a sudden-death play-off for the Curro SA Juniors International title in March.
We caught up with Caitlyn after the first two rounds at Royal Durban Golf Club and discovered that she enjoys water-sports and a good snooze, the Olympic Games and a Major title are on her bucket list and she is also a dab hand with a fishing rod.
BORN: Benoni RSA
BIRTHDATE: 18 February 2002
RESIDENCE: Serengeti Golf & Wild Life Estate in Gauteng
SCHOOL & GRADE: St Dunstan’s College; Grade 9
RECENT CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Fifth in the 2016 Ciputra Enjoy Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship (13-14 age group).
Selected for the 2017 GolfRSA Elite Squad.
Won the Open, Junior A and the Closed Divisions of the 2017 Ekurhuleni Women’s Open
Won the Ladies Division of the Champion of Champions Final at Glendower.
Runner-up finishes in the Free State and Northern Cape Opens, the Curro SA Juniors International on the Global Junior Tour and the Ladies Tshwane Open.
TELL US FIVE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW
1. I enjoy fishing – a lot!
2. My family and I do a lot of water sports and I slalom ski and wake-board
3. I tried ballet once, didn’t like it because I couldn’t point my toes!
4. I can’t stand tomatoes, but love tomato sauce and tomato soup
5. I have a passion for cars, shoes, music and watches
My favourite food is my Mom’s lasagne (with tomato sauce)
My favourite golfers to watch are Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.
I love watching all sports, except soccer!
My favourite golf courses include Pinehurst, Damai Indah Golf Pik, Mossel Bay and the West Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington.
ON THE BUCKET LIST
To turn professional and win a Major
Shark cage diving, bungee jumping and sky diving
To represent South Africa at the Olympic Games
Q – Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals?
CM – Yes, some of my goals for 2017 were to win a senior event, to make the GolfRSA Elite Squad and to improve my rankings. In 2018, I hope to represent South Africa internationally and win one of the two Nomads SA Girls events. One of my ultimate goals is to win a major once I’ve turned pro.
Q – How tough was the transition from the junior ranks to the senior circuit?
CM – I’ve been playing senior tournaments from a very young age, so haven’t battled with a transition.
Now that I’m traveling more, time management is very important, and honestly it is challenging to insure that my school work is up to date with a busy schedule.
Q – You played in quite a few Sunshine Ladies Tour events this season. Did you enjoy the experience and did it impact positively on your game?
CM – I have absolutely loved playing in the Sunshine events and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play with the professionals. Just watching the professionals on the course has been so beneficial to my game. I get butterflies in my stomach when I find out I’ve been paired with professionals that I admired, and being able to walk down a fairway with them has been an amazing experience.
Q – What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
CM – I can’t pin-point a specific weakness in my game. I work on my game in its entirety, but I think I’m strong off the tee and around the greens.
Q – Where and when did your love affair with golf start?
CM – My dad gave me little plastic golf clubs when I was still very small, but I preferred his clubs, so my parents gave me a proper set of golf clubs when I turned four. I played many sports at school, but golf was always ultimate sport for me.
Q – Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
CM – Tournaments I would most like to win include the Nomads SA Girls and Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championships, as well as the Sanlam SA Stroke Play and Match Play Championships, because of the opportunities that they then offer. These are the top four events that all South African amateurs dream of winning and it would be a dream come true to lift one of those trophies.
Q – If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
CM – One of my nicknames is also Cat, I am patient and I enjoy my sleep, so I’d go with a cat.
Q – Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.
CM – Nothing other than the beef shawarma I had in Constanta, Romania. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious in my life – no offence, Mom!
Q – What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
CM – Brush your teeth. Wear sunblock. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
Q – What is your favourite season and why?
CM – I would have to be summer because of the warm weather, all the outdoor activities, the ice cream, swimming, and my beautiful golfers tan!
Q – Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?
CM – Air. Water. Sleep. Golf.
Q – Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
CM – Hate is a strong word, but spending time without my sister is quite miserable.
Q – As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
CM – When I was younger I wanted to be Spiderwoman who was a professional golfer.
Q – What’s your favourite club in your bag?
CM – I don’t have a favourite – otherwise my clubs would get jealous of one another!
Q – Describe yourself in one word.
CM – Easy-going.
Q – What movie can you watch again and again?
CM – The Divergent Series.
Q – Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
CM – I found with a lot of hard work and dedication you can be good at anything you set your mind to; but personally I find myself to be good at laughing and having fun, sports and problem solving.
Q – What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
CM – My fishing rod, good music, and my sand wedge to practice my bunker shots.
Q – If golf wasn’t an option, what profession would pursue and why?
CM – It would have to be something to do with sport, being outdoors, or doing something with my hands.
Q – If they made a movie about your life, which actress would you pick to play you and why?
CM – Cara Delevingne partly because I’m a huge fan and also because I think we’d be similar with our playful and energetic personalities!
Q – What are your biggest fears?
CM – My biggest fear would be to have a career doing something I didn’t love.
Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
CM – I’d say that the most important thing is to love what you do and to have as much fun as possible while doing it!