FACE TO FACE: Inspiring others helps golf caddy Taneka Mackey stay on course

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By FELICITY DARVILLE

Conference Taneka Mackey is an eye opener. She appears to be to shatter stereotypes all all around her. You may possibly imagine that mainly because she’s a golfer and a expert caddy that she may be fairly reserved. But Taneka is very down-to-earth with that uncooked, pure island female top quality in her mannerisms and lingo. You may possibly feel that due to the fact she has designed news all around the planet, that she has her sights set on lands far away.

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But Taneka has a approach for the potential that will convey her back again to her roots in The Bahamas, encouraging to form future leaders. You might believe that for the reason that she travels so a great deal, she doesn’t have time to settle down. But, Taneka is happily married with a spouse that counts down the times until his spouse is again in his arms after a different productive LPGA tournament. You may perhaps assume that currently being an athlete and an ambassador for her nation suggests she’s generally at the best of her recreation. But Taneka battles many sclerosis and involves steady cure. You may assume that with a experienced caddy gig, that Taneka is raking in huge bucks. But it expenses a great deal to make it take place, and she’s carrying out her portion to depict the nation. You may perhaps feel that a super interesting youthful girl who rubs shoulders with golfing stars does not have time for religion. But her Christian walk is her greatest profession and with it, she’s organized to take on the world.

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Taneka was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, to mom and dad Juan and Kris Sandiford. For the first two several years of her lifetime, she lived in the Bain and Grants City area, ahead of her family members moved to Centerville. When she was 13, they moved into the Fox Hill neighborhood, offering her a effectively rounded working experience in some of the cultural areas of New Providence Island.

Athletics has always been in her blood. Juan, a Nassau native, is a retired teaching specialist. Her mother, who hails from Iowa, United states of america, ran hurdles in superior faculty and was a incredibly superior softball player. Her more mature brother Terrell and her youthful brother Garrett cherished participating in athletics expanding up. She is only two decades more youthful than Terrell, so something that he did as a boy, she tagged along. At an early age, they both swam competitively. When he desired to attempt soccer, she went foot-to-foot driving him.

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“Golf came alongside when I was 10,” Taneka remembers.

“My mom appeared by means of aged newspapers when we ended up on vacation and noticed an ad about the Bahamas Golfing Federation. In 6 months I created the junior nationwide staff and travelled to the Dominican Republic. Travelling is what kept me in golfing at an early age.”

In substantial university, Taneka fell in enjoy with basketball. After graduating from St. John’s College, she went off to Pensacola Christian Faculty and ongoing to play basketball.

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But golfing was generally there, and has been paving uncharted roadways for her even to this day. Taneka finished up obtaining a whole golfing scholarship to Redlands Local community Faculty. She then ongoing her education at Chicago Condition College in which she acquired a further whole scholarship to enjoy golfing there.

She holds an Associate’s diploma in each Elementary Pre-Education and Psychology. She also holds a Bachelor’s diploma in Business Management.

“Unsure what I desired to do in 2017, I went again to Redlands and turned the assistant golfing mentor and this is when I received my caddying breakthrough,” she states of her time following university.

“During the Xmas break I caddied at the Pure Silk Bahamas Basic and received randomly paired with Amy Olson. We hit it off from the leap and after the collegiate year finished, I worked for Amy for 5 activities. In December of 2017, I acquired a textual content from Amy inquiring if I would work for her yet again in The Bahamas and then she claimed… how would you like to go to Australia? As soon as all over again, my like for travelling made me particularly interested in this task. Now, 5 decades afterwards, I am continue to doing work with Amy.”

Taneka travels with Amy to about 18 nations around the world a year. They have travelled all around the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Thailand, and Singapore. Amy will be 30 on July 10. Taneka will be 28 on June 1. They have found a method for achievements that retains them equally centered on their objectives.

“Caddying is an incredible career,” she tells me.

“It is satisfying, enjoyment, and you get to vacation the globe. The most vital issue is you have to be powerful bodily and mentally. It is prolonged days and lonely evenings. So this is when I lean on God and invest a whole lot of time studying the Bible. It is a spouse and children absent from household.”

I preferred to know what it will take to be a good caddie.

“There are 3 rules: display up, shut up, retain up,” Taneka claimed.

“You have to be on time. If you are just one minute late, your participant can miss their beginning time and get disqualified. So you must be on time. If you talk way too much, you can throw a participant off and confuse them. You have to be affirming and assured in your choices.”

“It phone calls for walking ten miles a working day and carrying a 45-pound bag. You just can’t be significantly at the rear of or make your player wait around on you. Just about every participant has their own type, so you adapt to what they want. But you have to know how to get yardages swiftly, know where by the wind is coming from, and how significantly the participant hits each individual club. But most importantly, you have to know how to provide your participant down-to-earth if they get way too higher, and elevate them up if they get far too minimal.”

I observed these virtues in action in a photograph Taneka despatched me of her and Amy on the system. It was the very last gap of the last spherical at the 2020 US Open. Amy’s father-in-law experienced just died the day before. As Amy leaned in to her caddy and buddy for guidance, Taneka speedily prayed for her and comforted her, allowing her know that she was carrying out a excellent position and she was very pleased of her. Amy finished second.

“Golf has revealed me that you can hit the great shot and get a undesirable bounce or break just like lifetime,” Taneka stated. You can do every thing appropriate but an individual else just occurs to be superior than you that day. It also displays me that every gap is like a new working day due to the fact it’s a clear start out.”

Taneka doesn’t get to perform a match of golf for herself very generally, although. It’s challenging due to the fact she’s on the street 27 weeks out of the calendar year, and the sport is “extremely expensive” in The Bahamas.

The price tag of the sport is a person even caddies have to bear: “It’s a fee-based occupation so I can go 5 months with out making dollars and then go two months earning superior money. But I also fork out for all of my fees – airfare, lodge, rental motor vehicle, food, whilst also spending my health-related expenditures. Aliv will help me, they pay back for my cell mobile phone, so I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

Without having more sponsorship, Taneka may possibly not be equipped to sustain the value of a position which not only sheds gentle on her, but her nation, as she is generating heritage in the activity of golfing. She follows in the footsteps of leaders like Agatha Delancy, Nationwide Athletics Hall of Fame inductee for golf and Georgette Rolle, LPGA pro and founder of 14 Clubs Golfing Academy. My son, Ras Elijah Delancy, has performed golfing at the nationwide and collegiate stage and would enjoy much more time on the inexperienced, but the fees can established parameters on young golfers who would like a lot more time on the eco-friendly.

Taneka is the initially Bahamian and initially black female to caddy total time on the LPGA Tour. Her foreseeable future strategies include returning to The Bahamas to operate her parents’ school, 1 on 1 Pre-faculty and 2 by Two Academy. She then needs to develop it to an elementary college with point out-of-the-art sporting facilities.

“My husband (Thomas Mackey) works in this article in The Bahamas so what I miss most about The Bahamas is him,” she reported.

“My mom and dad dwell here also. The Bahamas is like my happy spot. And when I come dwelling, I get to support out at my parents’ pre-school. So I get to inspire and converse to the following era of Bahamians. The faculty is a way to give back again and give children a great foundation. Being included in so several sports activities, I didn’t have time to get in difficulties. Kids now have far too much totally free time. Furthermore, athletics teaches willpower.”

Four years ago, Taneka uncovered herself dealing with a person of her toughest battles. She was house in Nassau, out for a run when she had a seizure. She was diagnosed with a number of sclerosis, a persistent disorder influencing the central anxious method. Doctors located more than 20 lesions in her mind and two on her spine.

“I have figured out how to hear to my entire body incredibly effectively,” she informed me.

“I just cannot overheat, and relaxation and no tension are important. I do a 7-hour infusion every six months. I have to do an MRI of my brain and backbone just about every calendar year. I’m continue to on seizure medicine and will most probably be on it for the following five yrs for confident, but it could be the relaxation of my daily life. I acquire vitamin D3, probiotics, fish oil and I acquire seizure medication twice a working day. I have to try to eat lots of fruits and veggies – kale is really fantastic. I have to meet up with with a neurologist two times a 12 months and a health care provider for epilepsy at the time a year. I also do blood do the job twice a yr – all just for MS.”

Taneka is dealt with in Iowa in which most of her mother’s family and her older brother Terrell life, so she makes the most of her journeys. When she considers her time on the highway and the quantity of fork out she requires home, Taneka appreciates it can be a tricky decision to maintain caddying.

“I carry on to do this position – certainly I love it, but also I know I am inspiring quite a few people,” she reported.

“Being the initial Bahamian and very first black female, even though battling multiple sclerosis – which has no remedy. MS in alone can be pretty unpredictable. It can be from a particular person like me with no indications to getting in a wheelchair and not able to see. It’s inspiring other people that truthfully keeps me heading and I know God has me below for a reason.”

“That’s why when I’m done, I’m coming dwelling to run a pre-college and open up up an elementary school.. not for the cash, or because it will be quick. It is about supporting the upcoming individual.”