INTRODUCING: Olivia le Roux
Womens Golf South Africa’s Olivia le Roux departed for Texas in the United States in January, armed with a high school leaving certificate boasting eight distinctions, heaps of enthusiasm and a lot of goals for the future.
The 18-year-old Devonvale Golf Estate golfer has taken up a golf scholarship at Lamar University in Beaumont, the same institution where two-time European Tour winner Dawie van der Walt honed his craft. Le Roux will be doing a pre-med B.Sc Biology degree and be playing for the Lady Cardinals.
Le Roux left South Africa with a pretty remarkable academic record and an impressive golfing CV.
In 2012, the Boland golfer broke through to claim her first senior title at the Free State & Northern Cape Ladies Open, tied for sixth at the Sanlam South African Womens Amateur and represented her province at the Pick n Pay SA Women’s Inter-Provincial in 2012 and 2013. Her highlights in 2013 included top 20s at the Boland and Western Province Championships.
We caught up with Olivia as she was settling in at Lamar and chatted to her about how she wound up at Lamar, her goals and dreams and a few of her favourite things.
Q – Tell us how you secured the scholarship, why you chose Lamar University and what you will be doing there.
OLR – What golfers need to know is that the university does not need to approach you with a scholarship, so it’s up to you to do the work. I started talking with MJ Daffue, who attended Lamar University, to find out more about the American College golf system.
One thing I learned is that it is important to find out exactly what subjects are required and to make sure you fit the requirements. I learned a lot of good things about Lamar and once I realised how great their golf program is, I got in touch with them and applied. It’s an “up and coming” university in the Texas system and have recently made great improvements to the campus and dormitories.
I will be studying and competing for the Lady Cardinals of Lamar University in the Southland Conference.
Q – What do you expect the most difficult obstacles will be to overcome?
OLR – The greatest obstacle to overcome will be the new culture and traditions of America. I have been coached by the WGSA Elite Squad assistant coach, Anna Becker, so another thing I will have to adapt to is the coaches and the new teaching style. So far they seem great and everyone I have talked to assures me that Brian White, the head coach at Lamar, is fantastic and knows what he is doing.
Q – Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals? If so, what goals did you set for yourself to achieve in 2014? What are your long term goals and how do you hope to achieve them?
OLR – I do set annual goals. Short term I would like to improve my golf to consistently score 74 and lower. And long term, I hope to complete my studies (B.Sc Biology Pre-med) to either continue on with a medical degree or to get a tour card and compete on the LET or LPGA.
They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become good at something. I continuously set smaller, short term goals that are more attainable in the moment and I want everything in life I take on to be a challenge.
Q – Tell us a little about the start of your golfing career.
OLR – Golf has just always been part of my life. I got my first REAL club at age seven and a junior set when I turned nine. I remember I played a ridiculous 165 in my first round, but in spite of this, I kept on going and knew that that my hard work would pay off.
Q – Tell us about your career highlights, especially the treasured memories.
OLR – One of the highlights of my career was a runner-up finish at the SA Junior Masters at Kingswood in 2012 and another was winning the Gauteng North Junior Championships at Wingate Park in 2011. Another was shooting my personal best score (68) at the Free State and Northern Cape Championships at Bloemfontein Golf Club in 2012 and winning the tournament in a play-off.
Q – What are the strengths and weakness of your game at present?
OLR – Shot making into the green from 70 to 140 meters is probably the strongest part of my game, but I need to improve my short game around the green. I am also a perfectionist, so when it comes to golf, I tend to punish myself when I don’t reach my goals. I definitely need to work on the mental aspect, as well.
Q – What is the best piece of golf advice you have ever received?
OLR – “You are your own best coach” – something my coach Anna Becker told me at our last lesson together before I left for the USA.
Q – Do you think the future of South African golf is in good hands?
OLR – The WGSA system is very sound and has definitely helped grow women’s golf in the country by providing many opportunities to compete against international golfers. I don’t want to make any predictions on future major winners, but there are many juniors out there with the potential to grow and develop into major winners.
Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
OLR – Golf isn’t easy; it’s hard work, but when you have reached your goals in the end, you’ll know all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it.
Q – Tell us how you feel about the upcoming Sunshine Ladies Tour and the opportunity for amateurs to compete against the professionals?
OLR – I think it is a wonderful steppingstone for the ladies who want to compete in the bigger tours, but don’t have enough experience and a great way for the amateurs to gain experience. It will also be a nice way to attract sponsors to support the amateur and junior scene in South Africa
Q – Who are your golfing idols and why?
OLR – Louis Oosthuizen, because he always appears so calm and collected and Lee-Anne Pace, the one South African golfer who performs consistently well on the Ladies European Tour.
Q – Who do you look up to or inspires you, and why?
OLR – I don’t really look up to anyone. I know what I want to achieve and my goals inspire me.
Q – What is the motto you live by?
OLR – We are what we repeatedly do, therefore greatness is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle
Q – What is your biggest fear(s)?
OLR – Failing.
Q – Who would you pick for your Fantasy Fourball?
OLR – Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros, Bobby Locke…these guys were great, and they didn’t even have half of the gear we have access to today.
Food – Sushi and Homemade pasta
Movie – Limitless
Music / Artists – Florence and The Machine; Ellie Goulding
Actor / Actress – Sandra Bullock; Alan Rickman
Golfers to watch – Sergio Garcia for his passion
Tournament – Masters at Augusta
Golf courses – Devonvale, Jumeirah and Pearl Valley
Major to win – The Kraft Nabisco because it’s always been THE ONE