Taking her shot

Sue Kim is one of 324 young professional golfers working towards the Top 20 at the  LPGA Futures Tour

Sue Kim is one of 324 young professional golfers working towards the Top 20 at the LPGA Futures Tour

Since she was seven years old Sue Kim has been on a golf course. After 13 years of playing, her love for the game has turned into a career.

She is currently competing in the Ladies Professional Golf Association Futures Tour, which will take her to 15 different golf courses for 15 different tournaments in pursuit of a full LPGA status.

The LPGA Futures Tour hosts approximately 324 promising female golfers, who are all competing to get to the final stage of the tournament. At this stage, the top 20 get full status cards in the LPGA and get to play in all 20 LPGA events, the next 20 get conditional status cards and get to participate in only a few of the events.

After a semester at the University of Denver, Kim decided that the university track was not for her and devoted her attention to becoming a professional golfer. At 20 years old, she spends nine or ten hours on the Redwoods Golf Course every day.

“It’s my second home,” she said. “I’m here (Redwoods) every day, except the days when I’m playing somewhere else.”

She’s easy to find there, too.

On a sunny day she will be out on the greens practising her game and on the rainy days she will be under the cover of the driving range working on her swing.

The employees there are like a second family and sponsor her by letting her practise every day and helping her work on her game. Her Redwoods coach, Brian Jung, has been working with her on her game since she returned from qualifying school after last year’s LPGA Futures tour.

“He’s really helped me a lot,” said Kim.

The Walnut Grove resident has been playing at Redwoods for years, and remembers her eagerness to be out on the course, just  playing the game.

The best memories she has of the game are being around friends on the golf course, where she could combine her favourite sport with her social life and a little bit of competition.

In 2005 and 2007, Kim was the B.C. Junior Girls Champion. In 2007, she also made history as the first amateur to win the Canadian National Canadian Women’s tour event. From 2007 to 2009 she received the Canada Score Award as Player of the Year. She also received the Player of the Year award from B.C. Sports in 2009.

Because Kim left school to pursue her career so young, she is also the youngest of her competitors. Most of them are about 25 or 30.

This doesn’t stop Kim.

Now that she has turned pro, the level of competition has changed and she is always able to reach for more and challenge herself.

“Learning, always learning,” she said “I’m learning new things everyday.”

The difference in the courses can sometimes be a challenge, but Kim sees it as an opportunity to improve her game, saying that each new course is another opportunity to learn.

At her recent Future Tours event in San Antonio, Texas, Kim had rounds of 78 and 80, but the terrain was rough, causing her to miss the 36-hole cut.

The best part of the game for Kim is playing the short game, on the greens. Once she gets to the green, she enjoys the skill involved with trying to sink the ball.

“The short game is really challenging . . . you have to challenge yourself to stay calm throughout the whole five-hour round.”

Steph Sherlock, LPGA player and Kim’s former teammate, helps by offering her tips on keeping calm and how to prepare before a game. The two began their professional careers at the same time.

Now that she is no longer a team golfer and is on the road with the LPGA futures tour, she says it is different from being an amateur and playing on a team. Instead of having two days to prepare as a team she can arrive to a city four days early to prepare for the competition and relax her mind.

She can go at her own pace and get in a few rounds on the course to get comfortable with it.

Travelling has always been enjoyable for Kim, who says she enjoys meeting new people and seeing all the different golf courses that she has been able to play on.

Her next event will take her to Squamish on May 17 and 18 at the Squamish Valley Golf Club for the CN Women’s Tour 2011. Being so close to home, Kim is hoping for a win.

“Hopefully, I can relax and have fun and the results will come with it.”

The LPGA Futures Tour ends September 11, 2011.