South Africa’s Kaiyuree Moodley is in her final year of high school and currently ranked No. 2 in Golf RSA Junior Rankings and No. 3 in the Open Amateur SA rankings. She is also a youth Olympian, representing South Africa at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October of last year. Most recently, she participated in January’s ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex where she finished T2 after a three-way playoff with South Carolina’s Jensen Castle and Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad.
If you are stranded on a deserted island and could only have three things with you, what would they be?
Golf clubs (of course!), lots of noodles and a satellite phone (just to let everybody know that I’m ok and there’s no need for an emergency rescue!).
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I would love to be able to read people’s minds!
What is your biggest fear?
Creepy crawlies which include snakes, spiders and scorpions! Yes…… I was born and live in South Africa!
Who is your favorite golfer?
Brooks Koepka – I love his tenacity!
What is your favorite movie?
That’s easy …. Life of the Party which stars Melissa McCarthy.
How do you spend your free time outside of golf?
Homework, homework and more homework! And, sleep – it’s my secret weapon – I make sure I get eight hours sleep per night. That’s not negotiable!
Who is your biggest role model and why?
Our former president, Nelson Mandela, is my role model. I am considered a born-free in South Africa – this refers to people born after our first democratic elections in 1994. Even more special is the fact that I was born on this day, Freedom Day – the 27th of April.
Madiba, as we refer to him, took the approach of forgiving his apartheid tormentors and today, my life is filled with opportunities my parents didn’t have.
Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what are they?
I recently passed my Trinity London rock drums, Grade 5 practical exams. So, yes, I’m quite handy with a set of drumsticks … bet you wouldn’t have guessed that!
What is your greatest memory of playing golf so far?
I have many great memories on the golf course but my best memory was when my mum and brother joined us in Scotland for the US Kids European Championships in 2012. My mum attended the prize ceremony and believed that I wasn’t going to receive a trophy. But, she came along to support the other kids. I will never forget the look on her face when I was called up to receive my top-5 trophy. J Priceless!
How/Why did you start playing golf?
My parents gave me a plastic set of golf clubs when I was four years old. I fell in love with those clubs and that’s how it all began.
What was your favorite golf tournament you have played in so far?
I have played in many international tournaments over the years but the 2018 Youth Olympics in Argentina and the 11th-annual ANNIKA Invitational in Florida are two of my very best so far!
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring female golfers who are just starting to play the game?
Enjoy the game and don’t focus too much on your scores. If you love it, the good scores will come in time.
What do you think can be done to continue growing the game of golf outside the United States?
I love the fact that the ANNIKA invitational is played in Europe, South America, North America, Asia and Australasia, but I want to speak to Annika about the possibility of bringing the tournament to our continent. But, it will take more than that to get more young girls interested in the sport. It starts at grassroots level – golf is an expensive sport and there needs to be a definite drive to make sure that young people, who are interested, are supported and nurtured.
Congratulations on your runner-up finish at the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex. After playing in an ANNIKA Invitational event for the first time, what was your biggest takeaway from the tournament?
This tournament was very special to me because of the friends I made. Even though the competition was tough, we still walked away smiling with strong bonds among us. That is really unique.
What was your best round of golf so far and where did it take place?
I have recorded two rounds of 66 in provincial senior tournaments at Port Elizabeth Golf Course and Mount Egdecombe Country Club.
How do you think playing sports has helped you as you are growing up?
I started playing golf even before I could write, and some of the first numbers I wrote was on my scorecard. It has taught me great patience, discipline and work ethic. Nothing in life is easy and the harder one works, the better one gets at anything.
Do you think it is important for girls to be active in some type of sport? Why or why not?
All children need to be active in some form of sport. With the increase in childhood obesity, etc. sport helps reduce it by creating well balanced adults.
Outside of skills, what are three traits or characteristics that you have gained or learned through playing golf?
Patience, discipline and work ethic.
Kaiyuree, who turns 18 on April 27, will graduate this year and plans to play golf at a Division I college in the United States. It’s impressive that some of her goals she wants to accomplish this year include doing well in her last year of school. On the course, we wish her the best in her quest to win any of the four Junior and Senior South African events that she’s set her sights on. We look forward to watching Kaiyuree’s continued successes both on and off the golf course.