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Heart, Soul, Sports

Gold in Golf

/ 05:20 AM September 09, 2018

It has been a little over a week since Philippine golf secured a double victory (individual and team, women’s competition) in the recent  Asian Games.

I am still elated and very much inspired by the win of our three very young and talented lady golfers. I feel a deep sense of gratitude toward the people responsible for putting together and coaching this team.

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The present NGAP leadership has shown us what it takes to enable our elite national athletes to play their best for the country. The usual personal agenda were put aside. Personal funds were spent to hire a professional group and a coach to handle the team. There was also ample time given to the team to play and practice on the course in Jakarta before the Games.

Though golf may appear to be an individual sport, both camaraderie and support from one’s team members are necessary in team events.

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I also feel quite privileged to have seen these ladies grow up. Two of them, Bianca and LK, were participants of the Jungolf summer circuit when I used to accompany my youngest son during his junior golf days. I would also chance upon Yuka quite often at the Canlubang Golf Club, practicing with her father.

While all three of them have reached heights that I believe many young golfers hope to reach one day—playing for the country and winning—it appears that each of them took unique paths to get to this point in their young golfing careers.

However, I realized that they have something in common. They all had received unconditional and unwavering support from their parents and the local community.

Also, all three of them have a healthy sense of JOY in playing this crazy game. As difficult and challenging as golf can be, their parents and coaches never appeared to pressure them.

I remember speaking to Bianca several years ago at the Junior World Golf Championships at Torrey Pines golf course a few moments before she was scheduled to tee off. She clearly wanted to be there. Later that day, I found out that due to her great ball striking and solid showing, she secured herself a golf scholarship.

As for LK, her dad Charlie once told me that as long as LK enjoyed herself while playing, any score was a great score.

And Yuka loves being out there in the practice area of Canlubang golf club with her father.

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So it appears that despite the uniqueness of each one’s experience, one thing remains constant: They all LOVE the game. Not just during the victorious days but every time they’re out there in the golf course.

As a footnote, it is worth mentioning that Bianca is a product of the Aguinaldo Golf Club, which gives the opportunity to many junior golfers to play the game. LK is a product of the Cebu golf development program.

Meanwhile, Yuka has access to The Country Club, the most challenging and world-class golf course in the country.

One hopes that more private clubs will take inspiration from these champions and open their doors to the country’s promising amateurs by giving them access to their facilities.

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TAGS: Asian Games, Golf, Heart Soul Sports, Yuka Saso
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