What brings a Russian Girl to Riverside Oaks?
For Margarita Zakareyshvili the answer is sunshine, summer, honing her game and getting to play plenty of golf.
The warm weather is about as far away from what it’s like back home in Moscow right now too.
“Summer is a really good time to play golf in Moscow. Winter time is a bit of trouble. That’s why I have to come here to Australia and practice,” Zakareyshvili said.
The Journalism student splits her time between Russia and the Gold Coast where she is coached by Mark Gibson at the Royal Pines Resort. With so much time on our shores, Zakareyshvili has joined Southport Golf Club.
“I come here for three months at at a time then I go back home. But I get to spend about six months a year here,” she said. “It’s always been a bit of a drama to prove my Russian handicap every time I need to play here so I joined a club.”
A member of the Russian women’s team, Zakareyshvili has been playing golf since 1999. She is studying Journalism at university. She won the Russian Cup for women in 2014. Last year she studied in Korea with members of her national team.
“As a member of the Russian National Team I get some benefits too. I have access to three or four courses to play and practice at,“ she said.
“There’s about a dozen courses I can play on. But it’s a funny system we have in Russia. Not all of the courses have access.”
As for the differences between golf in Australia and golf at home, she said there were some notable differences.
“The golfers out here seem to be easier going about their golf. They’re very relaxed compared to back home.”
“They don’t really care about things like whose hitting first. If we're running late, they let me take my time. It’s much more relaxed. In Russia we would never do that.”
As for the rest of the tournament, she is looking forward to improving on her first two rounds.
“I think I will try and keep my attitude in check and stop thinking about my score. That keeps pulling me down,“ she smiled.