With complications usually associated with pregnancy, heavily pregnant women do not involve in very enduring activities, especially in our part of the country.
However, Mrs Flora Hurtubise defied all odds to compete in the recently held Captain One Charity Invitational Golf competition held in Obuasi.
She stormed the golf course in her usual classy and colourful outfit to battle it out with over 60 male golfers, despite carrying a seven-month old pregnancy.
That definitely was the height of her passion towards golf as nothing could stop Ghana’s fast-rising female golfer from walking over three hours in the greens amidst hot sun and other obstacles to get her balls into the holes.
She did not only compete but ended as one of the best golfers of the competition with a Captain One Monthly medal to show for her efforts.
In her own words:”it was fantastic playing golf whilst pregnant and my doctor confirmed that it helped when I visited after the tournament. I am due to deliver this month and I feel very strong and could possibly play another tournament before having my baby,” she said in an interview with the Times Sports.
“This is one of the benefits of playing golf that other sports like football do not have. So far as one is not with any health complications, golf is one of the sports a pregnant woman can engage in till the day they would deliver.”
She said she did not mind delivering on the golf course and jokingly added that, “the child would automatically be a good golfer as he would take up the sport from birth.”
With over 100 medals to her name in just about seven years of playing golf, the 31-year-old seem to be following the steps of arguably the most decorated golfer in the country, Mona Myres Lamptey.
Explaining how her golf journey started, Mrs Hurtubise said, her husband, Michael Hurtubise – a golfer, introduced her to the sport in 2013 when she actually new nothing about golf and was actually wondering how players could find their balls on the course when most of the balls were white and particularly small.
In a quest to satisfy her curiosity, she decided to get involved at the Bogoso Golf Course as they lived in the township and has never turned back after her first day on the course.
“I just stepped out one day and started swinging in 2013 with the help of a guy who was always at the course and helped me to play. I played every day since then till I realised I could actually play and win trophies and medals.
“My husband has been of great motivation to me as he started giving me prizes as he offered cash prizes just to inspire me to do more and win. He was getting me involved and that was helpful. Then I also realised golf is not a lazy sport but once you enter and the interest grows, you could make time despite their tight schedules to play because it is an interesting game with a lot of health benefits,” she added.
Just three weeks into her golf journey, she entered a tournament at Bogoso and played fairly well though she did not win any trophy.
“Afterwards, there were a lot of monthly medals being played at the time so we could just go and hit as many times as possible just to be better. Then after three months, I participated in a monthly medal to have a feel of a fully fledged competition which was outstanding,” she disclosed.
That, she said, set her up to win her first ever trophy, the Longest Drive prize, at a tournament just five months into her golf journey.
“I always say that, I did not know how I played that drive because, I started with handicap 34 and now I am playing with 12 and I can say it has been one of the longest drives I had. And in golf, we say “easy does it. I started and it has not been long and all of a sudden, the swing and everything was perfect and everything went well. Sometimes, you can feel the shot in your arms but this time it was not so.
“That started it off for me and I started winning more than one trophy at a time and can boost of over 100 trophies in my cabinet currently. That includes the winning the prestigious Ghana Open twice and dominating the MTN Invitational Tournaments over the years. For example, if I had played 30 of the Invitational tournaments, I had won about 25 out of it with countless runner-ups when not winning,” she said.
Flora eulogised Mona Myres Lamptey and other female golfers for paving the way and giving others the chance to play and learn from them.
“Mona is a legendary golfer and we all take inspiration from her though I beat her the first time I played with her, at the Ghana Open in Tema, about five years ago. She was, however, very nice and we had a lot fun together,” she added.
The Achimota Golf Club amateur golfer indicated that she was looking forward to becoming a professional in the future and also get single handicap by the end of the year or early next year.
She had played several tournaments outside the country including Nigeria, South Africa, Canada and USA and hoped to have more global events, adding “it is always very encouraging to play outside home.”
Mrs Hurtubise advised the public to desist from discouraging people, especially female from playing golf with wrong perceptions which do not help with the development of the sport.
“One of the main challenges with introducing people, especially females, to golf is the discouragement they get. There are a lot of people who do not know anything about golf throwing dust in the faces of potential female players. They claim, golf is a lazy sport and for the rich, but that’s not the way.
“When you come in, you will realise it’s not the way it is. There’s always a starting point and one can make his way to the top by upgrading on equipment and all. So we need to encourage people to play, especially females. Interested persons should come into the game and experience it and make decisions for themselves,” she stressed.
According to Mrs Hurtubise, children should also be involved and praised the Captain One Society for intruding the game to children which would lead to Ghana producing a Tiger Woods in the near future.
She urged sponsors to come on board to support the game with more competitions to make it attractive to the public.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE