Guest Author - Letta Meinen
On May 8, 2007 there was a large spread with several pictures of Zakiya on the front page of the Sports section of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This article was written by Curtis Bunn of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and with his approval I will share some of the highlights of his article. Today I received a copy of this news article showing several great pictures of Zakiya which was sent to me by Zakiya and her mother Tanya Randall.
It seems when Zakiya was ten years old she and her mother were following a foursome of men playing golf. Kenneth Spence part of this group was chiding his buddies when none of them could hit their ball over a pond to the fairway. He remarked that even this 10 year old Zakiya could hit over the water. Well Zakiya was a tennis champion but had not played golf. Kenneth just said to Zakiya to swing through your body but that club was almost bigger than she was. She took the club back and through and flew it 160 yards down the fairway.
The men were amazed and remarked to her mother that she had a future star right there. They proved to be right as Zakiya gave up tennis and dedicated herself to golf and four months later she won her first Atlanta Junior Golf Association Tournament. She was named the AJGA player of the year after winning every tournament she entered.
Zakiya has turned sixteen this past May and has become a scratch golfer and has already won 45 tournaments. Zakiya has won her way as the local qualifier last year to advance to the sectional qualifying LPGA U. S. Women’s Open. She has every chance to follow four previous African-American females to play on the LPGA tour. This is definitely a goal of Zakiya’s to play for an eastern college then earn her way into the LPGA.
You don’t expect a 5 foot 1 inch, 108 pound girl to bomb a 230 yard drive from the tee with a slight draw. You don’t expect her at age 12 to sink a 15 foot putt on the last hole to force a play off and then win the Plantation Junior Championship in Orlando, Florida. You also don’t expect to see her dedicate herself to golf to even convincing her mother that she should be home schooled so she could spend more time in preparing herself to become a champion golfer.
Rising at 5:30 a.m. Zakiya spends a two hour workout at the LA Fitness Center, followed by six hours of school work at home working online with Arlington College. At 1:00 p.m. her mother drives her to Wolf Creek Golf Course for six hours practices sessions. That is dedication and all her instructors have remarked that if she stays committed and focused Zakiya should make the LPGA tour.
Zakiya is focused as her maturity is pronounced with her interest in boys as she says it’s a waste of time at this age. I am sure she feels there will be plenty of time for that as she prepares herself for improving her golf game. She is an inspiration and seems to be aware of this as she says that it is a way to show others that it can be done.
While playing golf Zakiya is calm playing from the white tees, talks about “American Idol”, learning to drive, music and even helps with reading the greens. She considers golf fun and it is understandable when she can make that golf ball react the way she wants to win. She is managed by her mother Tanya, who says it is like running a corporation. She serves as her daughter’s personal secretary, travel agent, tournament coordinator and psychologist.
In a way it is a business as Zakiya has her own business cards, plays in her own hats and shirts emblazoned with the letter “Z” as a first step to her own clothes line. She does have her own web site at www.zakiyarandall.com. Her mother Tanya says she wants to keep Zakiya close to her own friends as she is around adult so much. She feels it is import for her to keep friends with girls her own age.
I did enjoy reading this article as I found out more things about Zakiya I did not know. We have communicated many times but seeing the picture of her in her room showed me she really does have all her idols on that wall. I feel it is important to encourage any young person in their pursuit of goals. Zakiya has set high standards for herself and is willing to work at achieving them. I consider both of the Randall’s as friends and wish them well and success in their endeavor.
My thanks to Curtis Bunn for letting me give a summary of his article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My ebook “Golf is Forever” is now available. Check out this web site to find what it is about and how to order a copy.