From her first swing of the golf club to completing the required holes in the opening of the Vodafone Asantehene Golf Open, one thing was clear; there was no way anyone was going to believe that it was Yolanda Cuba’s first shot at a proper golf game.
Golf is not listed as one of the pastimes of the Vodafone boss lady. In fact, no particular sport qualifies as her pastime. Rather, she prides herself in being a mother first – above all else. Prior to Wednesday May 24, 2017, the closest she had come to a round of golf was in 2010 when she took part in a cursory lesson on the driving range for non-golfers in South Africa.
So when the chatter started around the golf course that this was her first attempt at the game; the crowd became even more enamoured and surprised.
“This is surprising. Are you saying that she’s had less than two months training in this?” An American who had come to enjoy the tournament was heard inquiring from a Vodafone executive.
And yet there’s no doubt about it, Yolanda exhibited last Wednesday that a sheer will and determination to overcome the odds are what one needs in life.
When Vodafone Business Solutions entered into an agreement to become headline sponsors of the Asantehene Golf Open, it became apparent that the Vodafone CEO needed to perform the ceremonial tee-off with the Asante King and some selected dignitaries before the tournament got underway. This involved the official teeing-off and then a preliminary game of four holes – the first, second, six and seven holes.
So when Angela Mensah-Poku, Director of Vodafone Business Solutions delivered the news to Yolanda; it startled her. She had never taken part in a game of golf; never putted; never swung; never smelt the very green of the course in all its nature and beauty. However, something had to give. She knew she had to redeem her image and put out a decent performance if the opening ceremony was to be any good.
The Achimota golf course came to the rescue – a makeshift package was arranged for Yolanda to undertake some lessons. The time was short but it was better than no training at all. With such a hectic schedule for a CEO; it was little wonder that Yolanda couldn’t make all the times allocated but she kept her determination and strong will. She took the training in very well and allowed her mind to dictate the pace for her. When the day drew near, the jitters came in. The nervy moments were very obvious – in fact she took to her Twitter handle to declare how nervous she was ahead of the teeing-off with the Asantehene; who himself has proved a distinguished golfer for many years.
Yolanda Cuba, @YolandaCuba – May 21
When the day finally came; all eyes were on Yolanda. The Asantehene took his first swing with such power and finesse that it sent wild screams through the course. Then came her turn; caddie Kwesi stood nearby as she took her position. The swing was uncanny – the entire course reverberated with the noise of cheering onlookers She had done it. The nerves were now gone – she was in a zone! From then on, it was swing after swing and putt after putt. It was a mesmerizing sight to behold; even for Otumfuo, who was visibily impressed.
As the game gathered momentum, Yolanda was overheard thanking the King for his encouragement and tips – words of advice that contributed immensely in getting her into a rhythm.
Yolanda Cuba, @YolandaCuba – May 24
Golf – game of strategy, discipline, consistency, humility and dedication…Learnt a thing or two today
So for a morning that initially begun with jitters, Yolanda succeeded in covering herself in glory; especially on a day when she was surrounded by royalty. The Vodafone CEO was also full of praise for the Royal Golf club executives. She spoke of the dedication of the members and how exciting it was to have worked with Prof. Baiden and the rest of the crew.
As she waltzed off the course with the Asantehene in all his majesty and the other participants – former Royal golf club President Johnny Owusu and current President, Kwasi Attah-Antwi – everybody was certain that this was not the last time she’ll be seen on the green.