Golf is not a sport that you will find an ordinary person on street discussing like football. But the sport is slowly taking its place on the local scene. Over the last 12 years, Rwanda Golf Union and Kigali Golf Club have been at the helm of developing what is normally termed as the game of the rich and famous. The growth of the sport can be seen in the rise of promising golfers like Orla Akariza Ishimwe Rwiyamirira, among others.
The 17-year-old sensation’s brilliance on the golf course is notable. After just one full year into full devotion to Golf, she has showed that she has everything in her locker to go to the helm of a sport.
Rwiyamirira who is in her grade twelve (senior six) in Utah in the United States of America currently has a handicap of 26. However, she has already won three major titles here in Rwanda beating a strong field of very experienced female golfers.
According to her personal coach, Jules Mutesa Dusabe who is one of Rwanda’s professional golfers, Rwiyamirira is undoubtedly the best ever talent he has seen that in the near future could represent the country at the biggest international podium.
Born on August 30, 1999 in Gasabo district, City of Kigali to David Martin Rwiyamirira and Sarah Mukandutiye Rwiyamirira, she is the third born in the family of four-three girls and one boy.
She attended her Kindergarten at École française. She later moved to Green Hills Academy up to grade four before joining Kigali International Community School (KICS)
In 2014 she enrolled at Utah, USA and is joining grade twelve (senior six).
“I want to major in pre-med (an educational track that undergraduate students in the USA pursue prior to becoming medical students) to prepare for medicine school because I want to be a pediatric surgeon,” she stated.
Asked about who she looks up to in golf, the soft spoken Rwiyamirira revealed that; “I have always been a fan of Tiger Woods and right now I am wearing his hat.”
Orla Rwiyamirira’s passion for golf is a family affair, her father David Martin Rwiyamirira is one of the senior golfers in the country and is basically the one who introduced her to the sport.
Nonetheless, like any other child who grew up with much eagerness to learn every sport, Golf was not that sport that impressed her most.
“Golf has been in our family for a while, we used to play golf when we were little kids but we never took it serious because I went into other sports especially basketball and soccer. Now, I am coming back to golf and I have developed a passion for golf,” she narrated. She disclosed that after going to US, basketball became her passion for a while until her father introduced her to golf.
Orla Rwiyamirira’s name first came into the lime light last year when she defied the odds and finished as the first runner up in the inaugural Karongi Tea Factory golf tournament with 70 net just two strokes behind eventual winner Liu Huifang who had returned 68 net.
When she returned to Rwanda recently for the summer holidays, Rwiyamirira won both the inaugural Ubumwe Grande Hotel Monthly Mug golf tournament and the fourth edition of Genocide memorial golf tournament that were hosted in the last consecutive two weekends.
During the genocide memorial tourney that was played under stableford format, she stunned a strong field of experienced golfers in the country (both men and women) returning 51 points, the best stable ford points ever by a Rwandan female golfer.
“What I have achieved so far motivates me to get out there and keep practicing. I already have some college coaches in America trying to recruit me to play college golf, so basically, they sponsor you and you play golf around the world. I have to keep working hard and reach a level where it is possible and I am getting there very fast,” she revealed
Future plans and Ambitions
“At least in 10 years, I want to be known as the Rwandan Orla Rwiyamirira playing golf abroad representing the country and a doctor, so I want to go professional with golf.”
What her coach says of her
“Orla is the best talent I have ever seen, she’s very disciplined and has the best swing that many golfers can’t do, so I really see her competing at women PGA tours if she maintains the spirit she has now.”
I would like to appreciate my Dad, my mum, my coach, my brother Davis for encouraging and motivating me.”