Trailblazing Minter makes Zimbabwe Open history

Minter will compete in the pre qualifier today as she hopes to make it into the main draw which begins on Thursday.

The country’s number one female golfer Claire Minter is set to write her own piece of history, becoming the first woman to compete in this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Open.

Sponsored by FBC Holdings Group, the 2024 edition of the Zimbabwe Open roars to life at Royal Harare Golf Club today with a pre-qualifier and the main championship scheduled for May 9 – 12.

Minter will compete in the pre qualifier today as she hopes to make it into the main draw which begins on Thursday.

While her journey in golf has not been smooth, Minter is arguably one of the best female golfers ever produced in the country.

“I still have to qualify and qualification is on Sunday (today) and if I qualify then it would be awesome. It will be a huge achievement to play in the Zim Open. I know it’s only for men but I have been practising off the gold markers. It is quite challenging I must say. Practice is going well and at the end of the day I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to participate in Zimbabwe’s prestigious golf event and I will do my best,” she said.

After quitting golf for seven years due to lack of sponsorship for female golfers, Minter made a comeback in 2022 and has since won five tournaments.

Last year she won the Maxi ProAm, the NAC HIV and Cancer Drive ProAm and the Mutapa Trophy and this year she has already bagged the Tongaat Hulett Lowveld ProAm and the NAC HIV and Cancer Drive ProAm while she tied for second place in the Universal Championship last month.

A career that kicked off in 2006 saw Minter go on to win no less than 24 tournaments as an amateur golfer including five Zimbabwe Ladies Open tournaments as well as winning the Zambia Open.

In 2011, she won a total of seven events.

The 43-year-old multi-talented golfer turned professional in 2016 but decided to quit the sport barely a year later.

She reflects on her journey that began at the age of 25.

“When I started playing golf it was just to play sport because I was into hockey. My parents had a set of golf clubs that they had bought for me when I was still at school but I didn’t play any golf at school. I got the golf clubs out and went and played at Country Club a little bit and when I realized that I was quite good at it I became a member at Chapman.

“I started winning tournaments and I just said to myself that I wanted to be the best female golfer in the country, which I achieved. I managed to win a tournament in Zambia and quite a few tournaments in Zimbabwe. After about five years of playing amateur I wanted to turn pro but there was no sponsorship. I went to a lot of companies and I was let down and disappointed.

“I actually gave up golf for seven years and I came back two years ago. I was out for quite a while but I Iove golf. I just want to give back to golf and to help people play better golf. I coach a lot of ladies, children and even men and all I want to do is to make them get on the golf course and be happy with their game.

“Obviously I want to see more ladies play golf. It’s very limited in this country so if I can just make more ladies play golf whether they are young or old then I am happy,” she said.

Minter is a qualified tennis coach and she also holds a Game Lodge Management Diploma.

She has worked as Safari Camp Manager and started her own woodwork company Skrood Woodshop in 2016.

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