Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Asian children start early on golf careers

AP, KUALA LUMPUR

She was among an entourage of a dozen Burmese teenagers competing in the event.

Her coach Chan Han said interest has bloomed in recent years, with 70 to 80 budding junior golfers in Myanmar under the country’s golf association. As Myanmar opens its doors further to the world, Chan said he hopes there will be more incentives and further investments to build world standard golf courses to make the sport more accessible.

“In Asia, many people see golf as an elitist game, but the rise of Asian stars in the game is slowly changing that perception. Green fees are still cheap in Myanmar and there are many talents here in Asia,” Chan said.

For Thailand’s Butsakom, her parents are pushing her and doing all they can for their only child to support her dream.

They live in Mae Hong Son, a hilly province in northern Thailand where her father owns a driving range. Every month, they take a five-hour drive to the nearest golf course in Chiang Mai so that Moonfong can practice her game. Her future goal is clear: become a professional at age 16.

Her mother, a nurse, said they plan to uproot the family to Chiang Mai in the next two years so that Butsakom can practice her game daily.

Will she be the next Asian rising star?

“Yes, I think so,” her mother said, with a laugh.

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