There is relatively little coverage for junior golf in
the media, but occasionally there is an opportunity to cover a success story
that should not be missed. This is certainly true in the case of young
Korean, Julie Yang.
Julie took up golf at the age of six as a result of
encouragement from her Father and conveniently living on the Rayong Green
Valley golf course, Rayong. An easy step to daily involvement with golf and
the opportunity for a level of application that would bring much success in
a very short space of time.
won the Sarawak Junior World Masters Golf Championship at Damai Golf &
Country Club, Malaysia, in April this year, to bring her titles tally to an
amazing twenty-three in a mere seventeen months period.
Julie won her first junior tournament, the UBC Junior
World Golf Tour, in December 2002 at the age of seven in class E, age 5 -8
yrs. She will be nine years old in July 2004 and will move up to class D,
age 9 - 10 yrs where the competition will be tougher but with the benefit of
eighteen months successful tournament experience behind her.
In January 2003 she won the T-Zoom Junior Open, followed
by the Rose Garden Junior Championship in March followed by three more
successes in April, the Thailand Junior World Championship 2003, the Kiarti
Thanee Junior Open and the UBC Junior World Golf Tour Division A Masters.
She enjoyed four more tournament wins in June, including the Eastern Star
Junior Championship and the T-Zoom Junior Open.
just 8 years old, Julie’s swing already looks refined.
Julie celebrated her eighth birthday in July by winning
the UBC Junior World Golf Tour and went on to claim five more titles in the
period August to October, including the Golf Time Tour 2003, the Bangpoo
Junior Open and the Rose Garden Junior Championship again. November added
the Watermill Junior Open and in December 2003 and February 2004 she won the
Muangake Wangnoi Junior Open twice. Two more wins in March with the
International Sports Federation Junior Open and a Pattaya Country Club
tournament. Finally in April this year, to bring her titles tally to an
amazing twenty-three in a mere seventeen months period, Julie won her age
class in the Thailand International Golf Championship 2004 and the Sarawak
Junior World Masters Golf Championship at Damai Golf & Country Club,
That is some record, so how does she do it? Certainly an
intense love of golf, a vocational approach to the game and lots of hard
work. Clearly this is largely possible due to great support from her
parents, but not only that, as Julie’s success and application to
competitive golf has earned sponsorship at this early age from two
companies, Volvic and T-Zoom.
Nevertheless, school and a good education are important
too, so conveniently she attends St. Andrews International School on her
doorstep at Rayong Green Valley. Five days a week, when she finishes school
at 2.30 p.m., she jumps into her mother’s car and drives to Sriracha for
her daily lesson and practice session with Thai Golf Professional, Khun
Julie has clearly put a very good game together, so I was
interested to know what she felt were her strengths and weaknesses and what
clubs she normally carried in the bag. Julie is just 133 cm tall and uses a
T-Zoom 11 deg. driver that she says is ‘neck height’, so that makes it
about 42-43 inches long. Her irons are all Taylor-Made except for a T-Zoom
wedge, fairway woods are T-Zoom and the putter is a Ping.
Julie states the strong part of her game is with the
short irons, and fairway woods four and seven. Her average driving distance
is 180 yards, to 200 yards maximum at this stage. If she has a weakness at
all, she says it is with the putter and is working hard on that.
She cites the Eastern Star Junior Championship in June
2003 and the Sarawak Junior World Masters 2004 as her two most important
wins, and is looking forward to her next major event this June in the USA,
playing the Pepsi Little People Championship at the Indian Country Club,
Julie, pleasantly self-assured, is a pleasure to talk to,
so I asked her to name her favorite courses. St. Andrews 2000, Rayong got
her vote in the Eastern Seaboard Region; then surprisingly staying local it
was Bangpra as her other favorite course in Thailand. Outside of Thailand it
was the Damai Golf & Country Club, Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia.
Asked which man and lady tour professionals she respected
most, with little hesitation it was Ernie Els and, not surprisingly, Seri
Julie’s other hobbies are swimming for exercise and
muscle building, and drawing for relaxation. She seemed quite clear about
her intended career path. School, then university with maybe a golf
scholarship to somewhere like Stamford University, and all the hard work
required to eventually become a tour professional.
At nearly nine years of age there is a long path ahead for Julie Yang
and, it would seem, she has not put a foot wrong so far. We will follow her
progress with interest, and wish her luck in the Pepsi Little People
Championship this June in Illinois.