Esther Strous from Hertfordshire Golf takes us on her amazing journey through the game.
She tells us how her journey through golf, both professionally and personally, started in South Africa, then saw her caddy on the Ladies European Tour, teach in the USA and finally helped her find her dream job here in the UK.
With an infectious passion and enthusasium for the, she co-founded the Women on Par intiative and over the years has introduced hundreds of new ladies to golf.
This is her story:
"Growing up in South Africa was the perfect childhood, I played every sport I could get my hands on and I quickly realised that when I grew up, I wanted a day job in sport too. But little did I know, it would be a sport that I only discovered aged 16.
My introduction to golf was when our school hockey coach, and my biggest role model in life, invited me to play in a mother/daughter golf event at her club. An 18-hole competition and she chose me as her partner. Madness! I had no idea about the game or how it’s played but somehow, she could see something nobody else could. That day we won and I still have no idea how. Knowing stableford as I do now, I can safely say it was all her that day.
It took another three years before I played again.. In the early 1990’s, my mom took over the F&B of Glendower Golf Club in Johannesburg. A venue which has hosted numerous SA Opens and other prestigious events. In 1997 I joined the ladies’ section and started to gain my first handicap of 24. I cannot thank those ladies enough for taking me under their wing, guiding me and teaching me all I needed to know about the game in those first few years. It’s so important for any junior to have members around them, supporting and encouraging all the way. Within four years I was down to a 1 handicap and playing for my province (county) making lifelong friends and memories that still make me smile to this day.
In 2003 I became a teaching professional. My coach at the time, Lesley Copeman, a legend of a player in her own day, guided me into coaching and developing new golfers. I can safely say her encouragement and influence is why I do what I do today. Being a teaching professional, it offered me the opportunity to travel to the US and teach juniors there for two summers. Giving me that true taste of development. The connections I made there with other professionals was incredible and I now have a network around the world.
At this stage, golf was already becoming more welcoming towards females. The bar opened its doors and allowed us in for an after-game drink and we had the option to play on weekends. We were slowly getting noticed as equals. We have definitely come a very long way since, with ladies now in chairman and club captain roles, CEO’s of national governing bodies and club managers. We still have a way to go to get the women’s game to where I believe it could and should be, but events like this year’s Rose Ladies Series supported by Justin and Kate Rose and Women in Golf week highlight so many opportunities for girls today.
Golf not only offers social and health benefits; it also provides so many amazing careers.
The phrase“right place at the right time” perfectly describes how I have lived my life.
A friend of mine was playing on the Ladies European Tour in 2004 and she asked me if I was keen to caddy for her around Europe for a few months. Erm yes please! What a way to see some of the world.
Unfortunately, one tournament in she injured herself, leaving me with no idea what I was going to do for the next few months. One of those lifelong friends I mentioned earlier, and had met on the South African ladies’ professional tour the year before, lived in the UK and offered to let me stay with her and her family until I found some other work. I’ve now been living here for 16 years and that family has now become my family.
My career in the UK has taken me from head waiter at a fine dining restaurant to managing a pro shop, working in sales for the world-leading brand of Acushnet, to a support officer for England Golf. All the while gaining all the experience and knowledge I could to grow this wonderful game.
Hertfordshire is truly the county of opportunity. I have had the honour of being county girl’s junior organiser, lady captain and a board director at my club. I now have the career of my dreams as Development Officer. The role was created by the county in 2019 as they wanted to provide opportunities for beginners to expand and develop into club members.
What I do day-to-day is not really work, it’s a passion, and to see new golfers take to the game is the best feeling ever. I love to hear that someone, who was not so sure in the beginning, is now a member of a club, having fun and playing regularly. Golf has truly given me everything I have today, family, friends, career, adventure and travel.
So, what would I say to those who are thinking about trying golf?
I’d say do it, you’ll ever regret it and you will gain so much. For juniors, there are life skills and for adults it’s the feeling of being part of something amazing. Find that course or driving range near to you today, get into some of the group lessons and meet new friends. It’s a sport for life in every way!"
We couldn't agree more.
About the author
Esther is Hertfordshire Golf’s Development Officer, a role that involves providing opportunities to more people to get into golf with the support of external partners like Golf Foundation, England Golf and Herts Sports Partnership. She is currently golf revenue director at her golf club of Welwyn Garden City and advises on the junior committee. She has also been a county player since returning to the amateur ranks in 2011 and is the co-creator of the Women on Par initiative that England Golf rolled out nationally in 2018.
To find out more about Esther's work in Hertfordshire and to get involved visit www.hertfordshiregolf.org/activities_and_events.