The game of professional golf is challenging, demanding, and often frustrating, and juggling that with any other profession becomes a tall order for many. In certain instances, for some individuals, both professions tend to suffer if not well taken care of.
Enter Ricco Motsa.
The 49-year-old member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class is a multi-tasking master. Motsa, born and raised in the rural areas of Barberton, is not just a regular professional golfer. He is also a practicing lawyer, boasting two law firms; one in Alberton and the other in Nhlazatshe near Badplaas.
“I was admitted as a lawyer in 2005,” Motsa revealed ahead of his tee-off time in this week’s Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament at Killarney Country Club on Monday. “I have, for the better part of my life, known only law. As a youngster, I was not exposed to golf.
“After matric, I was fortunate enough to do my first law degree which took me four years and later on, I did my second degree in LLB at Vista University. Obviously, for me, law comes first because it pays the bills, but both professions are like two employers demanding equal attention.”
Motsa’s golfing journey didn’t begin until July of 2013. His brother, Sifiso, introduced him to the gentlemen’s game, and after a few outings as an amateur, Motsa met professionals Thabang Simon and James Kamte, who were already household names in the local golfing scene.
“I got very close to Thabang, and he did a lot to help me with my game,” he added, “and later my brother convinced and motivated me to enter the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament, and as they say, the rest is history.”
Motsa turned professional in 2022, and having now attained his Sunshine Tour playing card, Motsa’s biggest challenge was to begin. While he already had a busy schedule thanks to his work, professional golf brought its demands and forced Motsa into a strict time-management regime.
“My daily routine starts at 4 am, even if I have a tournament,” revealed Motsa, “I must start at the office first and then go for practice before starting a tournament. I always worry if I have a tournament only to find that the court sent me a hearing date. I am so worried about double bookings. So, the biggest challenge for me is that I have no control over the dates of either a tournament or a court case.”
Despite his hectic schedule, Motsa remains inspired and committed to both professions. Having been exposed to the strict demands of courts and judges, Motsa thrives under the pressure that comes with golf in particular.
“I know very well that talent alone is not enough,” he says. “Hard work is vital. Fortunately, law taught me to read a lot, and judges would want heads of arguments to be submitted before 5 a.m. in some cases. So this helped me to accept the challenges in golf.”
In golf, however, challenges never end. As a member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, the Sunshine Tour’s transformation initiative aimed at providing more support – technical and financial – to the players of color, Motsa understands the struggles that come with professional golf for previously disadvantaged communities.
His dream is to see more players of color being given adequate opportunities to play and proper support to grow within the game.
“I wish to see players of color being afforded help and be encouraged to work hard, but players also need to take criticism and take responsibility for their careers,” he says. “I get so much inspiration from the players of color when we play on Tour.
“We have formed an association called the Professional Golfers of Colour Association. We all contribute money into one pool and then use it to cater for our accommodation and travelling on tour as members. This is one of my biggest inspirations, and I feel like we have become brothers, and I love that brotherhood.”
Motsa isn’t just an inspiration to the young boys and girls from his rural village in Barberton; he is a shining light to fellow members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class and is a personification of hard work and determination.
While his may seem to be an impossible balancing act, Motsa’s willpower and impeccable work ethic are nothing short of inspirational, and many youngsters could benefit from role models of his nature.