CASEY Twidale, who recently turned 13, is one of Randpark’s up-and-coming stars – as she has proved by twice shining brightly in the last few weeks.
Entering the “big league” for the first time, against much older and more experienced golfers, she finished a commendable second in the B Division in the SA Women’s Amateur Strokeplay at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington in February. Then, just 12 days later, Casey went one better by winning the B Division in the North West Women’s Open at Pecanwood. Conditions weren’t easy, it was uncomfortably hot, and with two rounds played in one energy-sapping day she sealed the deal with a closing, well-executed, 81.
Currently playing off a stroke index handicap of 8.1 – pretty good going for a young lady just entering her teenage years – Casey was introduced to golf by her dad Ian when she was just five years old. “I enjoyed going to the range with my dad and brother just to hit balls. My dad then signed me up for lessons with Darren Witter and that’s where it all started,” she says. From the outset she has been coached by Randpark’s Darren Witter and is now part of the excellent junior elite programme which Darren runs at the club with Stuart Blackie.
“Darren has been great for me and is passionate about always improving my swing,” she says. “And as far as my game goes, I feel that I drive the ball pretty well, I try never to three-putt and my short game has improved a lot this season thanks to Stuart”. And those aspects of golf, as we all know, are some of the essential keys to success.
Growing up, Casey competed in the SA Kids Golf circuit, twice winning the national Order of Merit in her age-group, and she qualified to represent SA Kids at the Kids World Championships in Malaysia where, in the girls 10-12 year bracket, she finished a creditable 18th. “I enjoy playing in tournaments with my friends as well making new ones along the way. It’s tons of fun. And being able to travel, to places like Malaysia and all over South Africa, and play golf on wonderful courses, just adds to what makes the game fun for me”.
Casey is a student at Curro Aurora Primary school where she has earned a golf and academic scholarship. Besides being such a promising golfer, she is in the first teams for swimming, athletics and netball. But golf is her No 1 priority and she has set lofty goals for herself over the next five years. “By the time I’m 16 I want to be shooting under par,” she insists, “and by 18 good enough to earn a golf scholarship to a good University overseas – so I can study over there, get a degree, play well and maybe one day turn pro.”
This promising young player credits her parents for the support they give, Ian travelling to tournaments with her to caddie for her and of course encourage her. “My dad and I argue a lot on and off the course but we make a good team and he picks me up if ever I get a bit down with a cheesy joke” she says with a smile.
Being so young, Casey was up until recently not able to reach some of the longer par-4s in regulation. “But we’ve seen a growth spurt,” says Ian, “and she’s now long enough.” In fact, she’s already been up in two on a par 5 as well! On a course she loves – our very own Firethorn. At the par-5 fourth hole she made the green in two, narrowly missing the putt for eagle. The birdie, not surprisingly, was a formality.
Casey has represented Central Gauteng in the Primary Schools Interprovincial tournaments and Ladies Golf Gauteng at the SA Girls Championships that pre-COVID where held in Orkney and will be playing in various tournaments throughout this year – both at junior and open level. She recently broke 80 for the first time, shooting 79 at a tournament at Emfuleni.
She’s clearly going places so watch this space!
Written by Randpark member Grant Winter