Born into a golfing family, it took a little longer for the bug to bite Rolene Strauss but it’s been a fun journey for the former Miss South Africa and Miss World, writes WADE PRETORIUS in Compleat Golfer.
How does a beauty queen find her way on to the fairway?
I grew up in a family of golfers – my dad, mother and brother all play – so I guess it was kind of inevitable. I was certainly a late starter because I always enjoyed being the one who drove the cart and had a good laugh at what was happening on the course.
Do family games descend into the men vs the women?
[Laughs] No. I’m far behind the level of the rest of my family so my dad and I usually team up. We have a great time and there’s always a lot of laughs.
So to help that, you’ve made the course your home?
I live on the Val de Vie estate and it’s the ultimate luxury to have Pearl Valley in your back garden. There is no better place to practise than at The Pearl. The fairways are immaculate and the greens are exquisite, which helps with your putting. Playing on such a good course helps all facets of your game and my course management has improved a lot.
And the downside?
Well, I recently had a game in my home town [Volksrust] and it was a completely different experience. I had a terrible round – is it wrong to blame the conditions for my performance?
Does being famous make things tougher?
It does. When I was Miss SA, I had a big TaylorMade bag with my name printed on it. It usually takes a long time for my nerves to settle and it’s quite tough to play your best when you have so many eyes on you.
Is there time in your busy schedule for golf?
I wish there was more time, but there isn’t at the moment. It’s a long game and it can be frustrating as you struggle to make progress without time spent on the range and practising on the course.
How do SA’s courses compare to the foreign tracks?
I wouldn’t know [laughs]. There’s never any time to play when I travel because it’s always go, go, go. That, and there’s never space for me to take my clubs.
How much golf do you watch on TV?
Not too much. I want to get into it more but for now I only sit and pick up some tips when the family are watching.
What shot scares you the most?
I’m not a fan of greenside bunker shots. It’s always a bit of a lucky packet because you know what to do but things can go awry quickly. Although the other day, to my surprise, I actually holed out so that was great. And hopefully it’s a sign that things are getting better.
Do you have a funny golf story for us?
I do! It’s become the family joke too. The first time I took [husband] D’Niel back home,my dad said he wanted to getto know him better. We headed for the course but because D’Niel didn’t have clubs, my dad rode in the cart and lent him his. It was about six holes in when D’Niel hit the driver and … the club’s head went further than the ball. He wasn’t a golfer at the time and didn’t even hit the ground, the head just went flying off into the rough. My dad’s a really nice guy, so he didn’t hold it against him for too long.
In 2014 Rolene Strauss was the third South African to be crowned Miss World as she followed in the footsteps of Penelope Anne Coelen (1958) and Anneline Kriel (1974). A qualified doctor and a mother, Strauss has since gone on to chair The Strauss Foundation, which focuses on making a positive impact in society through the promotion of health, education and charity.
– This article first appeared in the October issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale!