Melissa Eaton in action during Lalla Meryem Cup
Learning more about South Africa from the country's players ahead of this month's South African Women´s Open.
Getting to know LET Rookie Melissa Eaton...
Where are you born and where is it exactly in the country?
Empangeni, Kwazulu Natal. It’s North Coast, approximately three hours north along the coast from Durban.
Tell us more about where you were born
Empangeni is a very hot and humid area in South Africa. It’s also a special place to my mother as this is where she took up the game of golf, representing Empangeni Golf Club. In fact, my dad and my mother met on the golf course here. My mom first started playing golf at Empangeni GC and she turned out to be one of the best players in womens Amateur golf in SA. In fact when she was pregnant with us, she was still playing golf:)
So, Golf is inevitable! (or was inevitable for my sister Nikki and I)
Image Durban Country Club. Credits Melissa Eaton
What is the best thing about your country?
Our unique African spirit. It’s a magical culture in South Africa. You will feel the energy, the way the people are to the amazing beaches, mountains, coastlines or our spectacular game reserves. South Africa is just so unique. It's a beautiful place!
Sea Park Beach on the Kwa Zulu Natal, South Coast
Give some examples of the traditions from your home town/area that you like or love doing
Traditions that I love: sitting around the table at night to eat dinner together. A special time where we give thanks and share with each other our day. I think it builds connection in a family, closeness.
Me, Melissa, with my two sisters: Andrea (left) and Nikki (middle)
Tell us something about any of your festivities, what do you do and where do you go?
Christmas Day, biggest family Day. Time spent with my family and it’s a very dear and special time for me because I am not home often enough.
Your favourite place in your country and why
Game Reserve. The African Bush is so peaceful and a special place. I feel so fortunate to have been brought up in a family that loves going to game reserves and allowed me to experience such a special place.
Typical food and drinks from your area that you love
Savannah cider is a typical drink and the following typical food: typical SA braai, similar to barbeque
with lots of “yummy” meat, lamb chops and “boerewors” (like a farmer meat mix sausage) along with pap (which is a starch) with tomato sauce mixture over that. This is served with different salads and breads.
If you like cooking, what typical food from your country do you like to cook?
Melissa with twin sister Nikki (Left) and mother, Colleen, cooking in the middle
Lamb chops, lamb roast and lamb curry.
Be our travel guide... what places would you recommend us to visit in your country and things to do?
Kruger National Park and one of the many smaller game reserves in the area’s surrounding Kruger.
Cape Down – it’s breathtaking, from the beaches to the mountains.
We would like to know your traditions… What’s your typical weekend?
Mondays are OFF days. Golf on Saturday and Church and golf on Sunday. My typical weekend consist of doing something fun and social with my friends because every professional athlete had to unwind and have a little fun:)
Which is the most popular sport in your country? Give us an example of how popular it is. What about golf and women’s golf?
Golf is very popular and women’s golf is popular but lacks of support to grow the game.
What are your favourite sports and teams that you support? Do you attend any games?
The Kwazulu Natal Sharks Rugby Team, the SA Protea’s (Cricket Team), the SA Springbocks (Rugby) and the SA Bafana Bafana (Soccer). I have actually never been to a live game for any of these teams
What about surfing in South Africa? Do you surf, did you surf at school and how good are you?
I first learnt to surf in December, actually and I really loved it!!
Who is your favourite celebrity/personality/idol from your country that you are really proud of and why? (It could be a politician, scientist, actor, musician...)
Love Nelson Mandela, amazing person and soul family. He is such a huge inspiration to all South Africans!
Who is your favourite golf player from your country? And sportsmen/women?
Ernie Els and Gary Player
What do you miss from home when you come to Europe to play?
Game reserves, beach, some food and drinks.
Are you familiar with stories and legends of your country or region? Tell us any
Yes, SA is called the “Cradle of Humankind” because the earliest discoveries of humans was in South Africa. That’s pretty cool fact.
SA has 11 official languages. Which one do you speak normally? What are your favourite South African sayings?
English but took Afrikaans in School as my second language. I love saying: “Howzit” (it’s self explanatory!)