MASERU — Lesotho golf has added four players to its professional ranks.
Baitsi Motsamai, Tieho Mochebele, Tlotliso Khabo and Tung-Nan Lin joined Motlalentoa Moloi — previously the country’s only fulltime golfer — in the paid ranks at the beginning of this month, after undergoing a six-month training programme at a finishing school in Maseru.
The quartet had been amateurs for four years until their admission to the finishing school at the Maseru Golf Club in June last year, for a training programme which was being overseen by Moloi.
In an interview with the Sunday Express, a proud Moloi said he was hopeful Lesotho would send a team to this year’s Zone VI Golf Championships due to take place in April.
In the last 13 years, Lesotho has only sent a team to the regional tournament on four occasions — in 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2008.
“My focus is on development. The idea is to build a team for the future,” Moloi said of his new graduates.
“We can’t judge whether golf is improving by looking at the old players. The only way to make a proper evaluation is by looking at the young players,” Moloi said.
Since turning professional in 2004, Moloi has faced numerous hardships, the most glaring being lack of financial support and this has often led to sub-standard performances.
Moloi competes on the prestigious Sunshine Tour — a golf series played in the Southern African region — but is yet to finish in the Top 10 of any tournament.
The year 2009 was particularly frustrating, as Moloi only took part in seven of the 21 tour events.
“2009 was a hectic year for me — playing on one side and also having to coach. Being unable to prepare means you can’t get used to the different conditions you find in different places. I wasn’t able to play many tournaments but I feel my game has improved a lot,” Moloi said.
Costs of attending a single tournament — travel, accommodation, caddie fees and meals — average M4 000, making life on the professional circuit a difficult one, if one’s resources are limited.
But Moloi said he was confident the new professionals would thrive in their chosen profession, given the necessary support.
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