Where are you from? Tell us a bit about your childhood. What are some of your fondest memories from when you were a kid?
I am from California. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. My dad has always been into golf and a good player. I used to love going to the course with him and hitting balls or having putting competitions. I remember watching him hit drivers off our lawn into the pond down below when I was little and being amazed at how far the ball went. Those are my first memories of golf.
Tell us about your evolving relationship with the sport.
I had always been around the game because of my dad being player. But I didn’t take golf seriously until high school. That’s when I found I had a little talent for the game and started really having the desire to play and practice a lot.
What was your first golf coach like? What did they teach you that you consider to be the most valuable?
My first and only real golf coach was my dad. He taught me the fundamentals of the game and really let me develop my own swing. I learned that hard work and lots of practice was the best way to develop the necessary skills to play good golf, but it all starts from having good set up fundamentals. My dad taught me to actually play the game instead of playing “golf swing.”
What do you think is the hardest thing about playing golf well?
When it comes to playing good golf, you have to develop the right mental attitude. Golf is a tough game and it can beat you up at times. It’s all about learning to enjoy and embrace the difficulties and challenges that the game throws at you. “Enjoy the process,” my dad always said and when you finally break through you will be a stronger player and person because of it.
What do you think is the most rewarding thing about playing golf?
Developing golf skills takes a lot of dedication, time and energy. If you really put in the hard work it takes to improve your skills or become a good player, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing that hard work pay off.
How long are you lessons? Where are they?
My lessons are usually one hour long, except for playing lessons when I take students out on the course. I feel playing lessons are a very important part of what we do as golf coaches and sometimes neglected. Actually playing the game is much different than standing on the practice tee and hitting 7 irons. I coach at Citee Golf Performance Center.
Why did you choose to become a golf coach? What brought you to Beijing?
I was about 20 when I decided to become a golf coach. I was living in southern China working with a family business when I made friends with some of the coaches at Mission Hills. That is when it hit me. I went home and started my journey to becoming a PGA professional. I always knew that my goal was to return to China as a golf professional. My first job was coaching at Nicklaus Academy in Qingdao. After spending a short time there, opportunities came up in Beijing and it was a perfect fit. I have enjoyed living in the big city and see myself being here long term.
What do you think can be learnt from golf that can be applied to other parts of life?
Golf is such a great game. Golf teaches us many lessons that are relevant in our daily lives. It is a game of honor. There is no other sport were a player will call a penalty on himself, but in golf that is common. The main rule in golf is to play the ball as you find it. Just as in life, you get good breaks and bad, but you have to take them for what they are. You can’t let the bad breaks or slumps get you down, you have to stay positive and find a way to be resilient, and you will come out a stronger player or person in the end.
Any tips for practicing golf or playing sports in the summer when it’s this hot?
Always drink lots of water when the weather is hot. On average people are not drinking enough water anyway. It is all the more important when one is exerting themselves in the heat.
How long do you think you will be working as a golf coach? What are your plans for the future?
I see myself remaining a golf coach for the rest of my life. I love the game and have been fortunate enough to be where I am and call it my profession. There is no better feeling than seeing the look on a students face who has just felt solid contact for the first time or hearing that they just shot their best score. That’s what it’s all about for us golf coaches, and I don’t think I will ever get enough of that!
Citee Golf Performance Centre 西谛高尔夫
No. 1 Xiang Jiang Bei Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京市 朝阳区 香江北路A1号 (8430 8336; 136 9150 5009)