Laetitia Beck driving BG08
Photo: Colin Farquesohn
Laetitia Beck makes her mark on Scotland
The world of golf is little known in our troubled State. Whilst all attention was glued to the spectacular Olympics and Israeli athletes, on a rain-soaked golf course on the North East Coast of Scotland our young and talented golfer Laetitia Beck of Caesarea represented us with honor in the Junior Girls British Open Golf Championship, winning a bronze medal and displaying great promise for the future.
One hundred and forty girls from 17 countries congregated in the small town of Monifeith to take part in the challenging 5-day event. There were teams from Spain, Italy, Belgium, Scotland and England, resplendent in their smart uniforms, together with representatives from countries such as Latvia which, like Israel, has but two golf courses. Many of the girls, including Laetitia, knew each other from other international events in which they had played.
Her talent came to the fore in Israel already at age of 12 when she became Champion of Israel and this year she was also honored by being named one of the outstanding Sportswomen of the decade by the Israel Ministry of Sport. Tall, attractive, athletic and determined, Laetitia is making her mark in a sport which enjoys world popularity.
As luck would have it for me, the links course at Monifeith was selected as the venue for the championship and as a past resident of the area and active in the local golfing scene there for a number of years I was asked by the Israel Golf Federation to accompany Laetitia.
Laetitia was warmly welcomed, and on Day One of the competition showed her talents by making the lowest score of the day (for those readers who are not familiar with the game – the best score is the least shots made – not like football where the higher score is the better!) All around us the vegetation was green but the skies were grey and threatening, their reflection turning the wind-whipped sea to grey. Out came waterproofs and umbrellas as heavy showers soaked the competitors, the spectators and the course. Conditions were not easy but the girls battled on for the second day’s play and Laetitia went forward as a qualifier for the following three days of knock-out play, when the 64 qualifiers had to play one another – two rounds each day until on the final day only 4 competitors remained – one of whom was Laetitia. By this time she had a following; golfers and spectators who were impressed by her prowess and ability and who also expressed interest and support for Israel.
Sadly she was beaten in the semi-final by the eventual winner who proved one of the sayings in the world of golf “Drive for show and putt for dough (hard cash)”. The winner and number 1 seed, Laura Gonzalez-Escalon of Belgium, really putted her way to victory both against Laetitia and the other finalist, Kelly Tidy of England.
Perhaps the successes of Laetitia out-with Israel will bring more notice to the game of golf within our country and indeed to the importance of other sports apart from foot and basketball for our younger generations. Many positive things that are sadly lacking in our beleaguered country can be learnt from sport-besides keeping in good shape