Ballina golfer Eleka Moore.
Ballina golfer Eleka Moore. Elise Derwin

Golfer reaping the rewards from her study

ELEKA Moore was just 18 when she was offered multiple college scholarships to play golf in the United States.

Fresh out of high school and with two Junior PGA championships under her belt, Eleka instead decided to stay in Australia and pursue her dream of becoming a school teacher at Southern Cross University alongside her golfing endeavours.

After being accepted on an academic scholarship to study through Southern Cross University's Elite Student Athlete program, Eleka, now 20, has been able to travel to the US for golf tournaments and won the 2017 University Games event.

"If you asked me when I was a little kid I would have told you I wanted to be a school teacher first and then a golfer, which is definitely what I've decided to do," said Eleka, whose scholarship is funded by the Ballina Shire Council.

"Southern Cross University has offered so much support and the flexibility through the Elite Athlete Program which has enabled me to keep competing alongside my studies."

Eleka was only seven when she first teed off at the Ballina Golf Club.

It was during afternoon school sport on Tuesdays she had her first taste of life on the greens and decided to join the juniors instead of going to dancing or playing netball.

At age nine she qualified for the Junior PGA and won the worldwide tournament, backing it up with her second Junior PGA win at age 12.

"I then played the World Titles and the World Series in my final year of high school in 2016 over in America and it was very exciting to represent Australia and NSW," said Eleka, who aspired to follow in the footsteps of Aussie icons Karrie Webb and Greg Norman.

Eleka knows the commitment it takes to excel; she studies hard and plays hard when she's on the fairways.

She wants to use her passion for education in remote Indigenous communities where there is significant educational disadvantage, and eventually teach in Dubai where she can tie education and golf together at a major international school.

"I have always wanted to be a teacher because I strongly believe knowledge is power and that having an education opens people up to amazing opportunities," she said.

"And an added benefit of being a teacher is you also get the summer off work, and the summer is when events like the Australian Open are held.

"The offer is still there for me with professional golf and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) have been so supportive with any event that I want to play.

"This year I played the NSW State championships, the state Riversdale Cup and the Australian Amateur Championships which I am working towards again next year.

"I definitely still have that deep-seated love for golf, which you need, because golf is not one of those sports that once you master it you stay good - you have to keep working at it to stay in the game."

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