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Why Korean golfers are dominating LPGA Tour

Jennifer MarioBy Jennifer Mario,
Contributor
Pak
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Se Ri Pak is responsible for the boom in Korean women golfers on the LPGA Tour. Sunday at the U.S. Women's Open, she finished ahead of them all. (Courtesy: USGA)

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. - Cristie Kerr, an American, won the 2007 U.S. Women's Open. This was a major storyline for this year's Open, remarkable because only two Americans appeared in the top-ten spots of the leaderboard going into the last round.

The last names on the leaderboard read like a Pusan phonebook: Bae, Jang, Kim, Lee, Pak, Park, Park, Shin.

Why is it that the leaderboard at women's golf events tends to be so very, very dominated by Asians - and Korean golfers in particular?

This year's Open included 34 Koreans (and that doesn't count Korean-Americans, like Christina Kim or Michelle Wie). To put that in perspective, the next-highest international group represented in this tournament is Sweden—with eight players. With a population of only 45 million, Koreans were somewhat overrepresented at this tournament, and on the LPGA Tour in general.

"Why are Korean women so good?" asked Rhonda Glenn of the USGA to In-Bee Park after her second round. Grimacing, In-Bee, who was born in Seoul but is now a U.S. citizen, responded, "I'm really getting tired of that question. Everyone always asks me that."

Ok, In-Bee, fair enough. But the question is a legitimate one, and it deserves an answer. Having been born and raised in Korea myself, I can probably help you answer it.

It begins and ends with parenting: Korean parents raise their kids a little differently than American parents do. Okay, a lot differently. What Americans consider "pushing" their kids, Koreans consider right and proper. The more freestyle approach used by American parents—let kids have time to be kids— Koreans consider borderline irresponsible.

Leaving children to make their own decisions would be disastrous. Every moment of time is accounted for: children are in school, in an after-school tutoring program, or in a sports activity until it's time to go to bed and start all over again the next day. Yes, it's hard, but it's a competitive world out there and the role of the parent is to teach the child to be successful in it.

Westerners in general would view the pressures placed on Korean children to be inappropriate. We like our children to be "well-rounded." Korean parents, meanwhile, don't fret over lost childhoods. Children are expected to do their share to help their family—and their country—succeed.

Golf: the new path to success

Once Se Ri Pak helped put Korea on the map by winning the 1998 U.S. Women's Open, golf became a national pastime there. The floodgates opened. Korean women had a new path to success, so the obsession became not just golf, but training daughters to become professional golfers.

And when Koreans set a goal, they put everything they have into reaching it. Nothing is done halfway.

If a child shows a talent for golf in Korea, golf becomes pursued with a single-minded purpose unseen in American families, to the exclusion of all other activities, sometimes even to the exclusion of education.

"I think there's less emphasis on academics (in golfers) over there," says Tom Creavy, Se Ri Pak's swing instructor, as he discusses the issue with Gary Gilchrist. As the former Director of Golf at the International Junior Golf Academy in South Carolina, Gilchrist has coached his fair share of Korean students.

"Yeah, absolutely," agrees Gilchrist. "A lot of the kids over there don't even go to school. You'll probably find a lot of the girls on the LPGA that are doing well never finished high school. Those who go to school do well at school, and those who choose golf do well at golf."

"There's such an interest in golf now in Korea that they decide at a really young age that that's what they want to do," says Creavy. "And they get the instruction and the mental health and the funding—the parents find money whether it's their own or a sponsorship and they just go for it. They're driven and so motivated to practice. They're intense."

Sponsorships

Sponsorships are easier to come by in Korea, this is true. In the U.S., only big names win contracts. Meg Mallon, the sponsor-free winner of the 2004 US Women's Open, famously had to purchase her hat in the merchandise pavilion. In Korea, girls that show talent early on have no problem finding someone to help them foot their bills.

Won-Seok Choi is a manager for Hi-Mart, Korea's version of Best Buy, a sponsor for several Korean women on the LPGA Tour and dozens more in Korea. "We started sponsoring four years ago," he says. "We like to support many Korean women golfers because they have a chance to become a big player, like Se Ri Pak."

His explanation for the Koreans' success on tour? "Their families are very supportive," he explains. "They support everything for the players. Asian people have very strong families, and support is the most important thing." Americans see pushiness, Koreans see support.

The only downside for Choi is the tendency to leave school early. "Some of the players don't finish high school. Personally, that's the one thing I don't like about it, because there's a time to study and a time to play."

"Their motto is, the younger the better," says Gilchrist. "It's not like they're patient and waiting—as soon as their kid shows an interest, they're 100 percent committed to it. And I think in the States it's considered a negative thing to push your kids—they use that word, ‘push.' But the Korean attitude is, if you do anything, you have to be successful in it."

Pushy parents—it's one of the reasons why teen phenom Michelle Wie is such a lightning rod of controversy. To the American media, it's apparent that her parents have pushed her too hard and fast.

When she was playing well, with close to a million dollars in earnings her rookie year and three top-five finishes in the majors, the question wasn't, how is she doing this? It was: are her parents pushing her too hard? Now that she's playing poorly, the jury is in: her parents have finally succeeded in killing the golden goose. But remember that BJ and Bo, her parents, are Korean. Their parenting style is the only one they know.

Ji-Yai Shin is as Korean a player you could find. Number-one on the KLPGA Tour, the tiny, endearing 19-year-old has been invited to all of this year's majors plus several other tournaments. In Korea, she's touted as "the next Se Ri Pak."

She begs to differ about pushy parenting. "Korean parents might push when the children are little, but not when they're older," she says through an interpreter. "My father used to push me to play, but not anymore, now I want to play."
What does she think of the story about her counterpart Mi-Hyun Kim, whose father told her she couldn't get married until she wins a major?

"I think they're just kidding, that's just a joke," she laughs.

Through our American eyes it appears overbearing. To Koreans it's simply good parenting. But it's no joke how hard the Korean players push themselves.

At the U.S. Women's Open this weekend, darkness had fallen and most everyone had cleared out for the day. But five stalwarts remained on the putting green, practicing long after everyone else left. All five bags bear Korean flags.

Jennifer Mario is a regular contributor to the TravelGolf Network and the author of "Michelle Wie: The Making of a Champion" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2006). She began playing golf in 2001, became an instant addict, and realized there was a shortage of golf writings from the woman's perspective. A graduate of Duke University, she lives in Durham, N.C. with her family.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Asian Ladies Golf

    Ewan S Fallon wrote on: May 18, 2013

    Thank you for quoting my priors. Let me just add it seems to me that the Asian ladies play by more by feel and less by the mechanics. The mechanics are really just a tool for those who cannot play by instinct with a sensing of the nature of a smooth efficient swing motion. Which can't be taught by the way, only encouraged. I think local ladies are bombarded with mechanics by the gurus, to the detriment of their natural talent. Michelle Wie comes to mind in this regard.
    Anyway, I have submitted a proposal to Golf Today, about the merits of a short backswing. In it I have compared Inbee Park's swing to J.B.Holmes, finding much in common. Not sure if they will print same, if not will send on a copy for your consideration.
    yours
    Ewan

    Reply

  • Asian Ladies Golf

    Ewan S Fallon wrote on: Apr 6, 2013

    To say their dominance is due to parent pressure is a joke. The US leads the world in parent pressure from Little League to entertainment activities . Golf parents are no less involved, Consider the enormous facilities and opportunities here compared to Korea for instance, for kids and their obsessive parents. GolfToday has a much better explanation. --- talent, plus the fact that they are not subject to learning and trying to improve from the million and one gurus here all preaching the same official PGA way to swing a club, with little guru tweaks. I think by and large their top performers taught themselves like Annika. I believe they watched and copied the likes of Michelle's and Ernie's swing motion and adapted it to their own physique as best they could. No doubt they were helped by coaches not locked in to "official" PGA ways to play golf.

    Reply

  • junior golf

    adam wrote on: Dec 13, 2012

    I'm the parent of one of the better 10 year-old's in the US. I try to get him to practice, maybe 20 minutes a day in the off-season. Any more than that and I feel as if I'm pushing him too hard. I figure he'll eventually rebel if I ask for too much, so I just try to slip in at least some practice most days. Better than nothing.
    We are very familiar with the top kids from Asia: Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China. We know they practice a lot, but there's no way were going to match it. If my son really loves golf (which he clearly doesn't at the moment), he'll have to do it on his own when he's a teenager.

    Reply

  • Korean players in LPGA

    d. sirone wrote on: Jun 19, 2012

    It matters very little whether the league is dominated by Korean golfers - what really matters is that the LPGA is one big BORE. No one watches, no one cares, it is in fact the most boring sport on TV. I absolutely love golf, play golf, watch the PGA, but never - never watch the LPGA and everyone I know feels the same way. And, the announcers are awful, they praise every shot, make believe the pro did something great, even if its a 85 yard wedge shot to an unprotected green. Awful, just awful

    Reply

      • LPGA

        Ewan S Fallon wrote on: Apr 6, 2013

        If you don't watch it, how do you no its boring? Watch it my friend and see how you play golf without being built like Hulk Hogan. They don't take half an hour over every shot and can putt the lights out of the Tour's Prima Donna's. All they lack is distance off the tee, and even there some of them can put some tour players to shame. That is why most of the big boys aren't too happy playing in mixed tournaments

        Reply

      • RE: Korean players in LPGA

        oddjob wrote on: Sep 7, 2012

        I agree wholeheartedly. The LPGA is very boring for several reasons...
        The game is as much about playing well as against others. Professional golfers should and are expected to hit good drives. The big problem continues to be unimpressive approach shots to the green. If you use a "formula" of taking 10-15% of yards from the pin & converting it to feet (e.g. 150 yards to 15-23 ft; 100 yards to 10-15 ft) as good shots, the percentages achieved by LPGA golfers is only about 25%; the PGA & Champions Tour Golfers are routinely accomplishing that! The LPGA is boring because they're typically attempting initial putts of 20+ feet.
        Your comment about LPGA announcers insisting the play is impressive is also on-target. As a senior/male golfer, I can routinely hit approach shots as well as what I'm watching. The announcers used to also insist practically every shot encountered was "difficult". I am not aware of anything happening behind the scenes but I have noticed that insistence has diminished. Who were they fooling? Check the reaction on golfer faces... that is a better gage of shots and more times than not, even they are disappointed!. Announcers were always "impressed" by the play, whether good or mediocre. They, of course, want to pomote the sport but it has been insulting to continue presenting that "impressive" image.
        Note also that their courses are getting easier to create an appearance that the play is stellar. A recent tournament showcased a 214 yard par 4; there wasn't even a hazard in-play until greenside right. I could've hit 2 wedge shots & been birdie-putting!
        I continue to watch to determine how many times announcers attempt to "fool" me and assessing/applying the good/mediocre formula. After doing this for years, don't be surprised at results of 25% good; 60% mediocre; 15% bad!!!

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Korean players in LPGA

            Ewan S Fallon wrote on: Apr 6, 2013

            Go watch some LPGA'rs Play a practice round with the local club's big shots, and watch them knock the stuffing out of them. 5'-5" Yani Tseng gets it out 270+ and Michelle Wie and Laura Davis' get to 300 yards. Get a life my friend,only the golfing ignorant disrespect the LPGA, the PGA Tour players, Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo for instance certainly don't

            Reply

  • Korean Women's Golf

    James wrote on: May 30, 2012

    @Ewan -
    No, Korean women are not good because they learned watching golf on T.V. That is just not true at all. It is just as the article says...they are good because from the moment they show talent, they are playing golf. Korean parents send their kids to camps that are about 8 to 10 thousand a month. In those camps, they are required to work on short game for 3-4 hours, then full swing for 2 hours. From there, it's all golf related workouts. By the time they get here, to be quite frank, they don't even need to be mentally tough because they have spent 8-10 hours a day for YEARS doing the same exact thing. They completely believe in their training because that is all they do. At first, as youngsters they may fight it, but as they get older...they enjoy it so much that they simply keep doing it. They are great because they work harder than the girls here and that work provides them with a "no fear" mentality. I mean, imagine if you could practice 8-10 hours a day, with no stress, no money woes...under those conditions, the barriers to entry into the top tours would fade away.

    Reply

  • Korean Women's Golf

    Peter wrote on: Apr 25, 2012

    Unlike the land of the melting pot, the ladies of the "morning calm" are mentally strong due to few reasons: culture, family tradition, and putting up with Korean men. Mental toughness produces great focus and great focus produces Great Athletics. In conclusion, Korean Ladies are good at mental required sports such as Golf and Archery.

    Reply

  • Korean Women's Golf

    Ewan Fallon wrote on: Mar 29, 2012

    In addition to my other comment may I point out a feature shared by top Korean players. They have all learned to time and use the proper hip action as have Michelle and Ernie. Plane Golf (myplanegolf.com) describes it as a "Power Release". This is what makes their swing look so smooth and yet powerful. Suzann Pettersen keeps up the same way, and even Ben Hogan (although he claimed otherwise) had it in his bag of tricks. Unfortunately its not in the Golf Academies bag of tricks.

    Reply

  • Asian LPG Golfers

    Ewan Fallon wrote on: Mar 29, 2012

    The reason they are so good is they learned golf watching TV and imitated the shape and timing of a good swing. This is a lot more simple, instead of taking instructions on the thousand and one positions which supposedly has to be mastered before you can swing like a pro. They study on the driving range finding how to hit it straight and long while keeping the swing shape they have copied and learned. Why do you think they all swing alike? Its because they copy such as Michelle and Ernie who's swing shapes also look alike.
    So blame the golf guru fixation for the US failures. The US talent is there, try going back to their early swing shape before the guru's got hold of them, or start over Asian style on the driving range.

    Reply

  • Women American golfers

    USC FAN wrote on: Mar 25, 2012

    Its not like Paula Creamer and brittany Lincicome have less talent than the asian women. But what they lack is that work ethic,while the asian golfers are working their tail off the american women are worried about their outfit and how good they are going to look on the course. If the american women want to catch up they are simply going to have to work harder,its just that simple.

    Reply

      • RE: Women American golfers

        Ewan Fallon wrote on: Apr 21, 2012

        If only it was that simple. Are you saying US women don't care enough about winning and earning money to work hard?
        Have you any idea the talent and hard work it takes to earn a living on the tour as a professional golfer? They have to give up a normal young ladies life, leave home and friends live in hotels week after week, give up or postpone parenthood, for the love of golf. Most of them will never win, but they don't quit, or whine about the Asians who do, --- so lets not complain that they don't work hard enough. I don't think you do

        Reply

      • RE: Women American golfers

        Ewan Fallon wrote on: Apr 21, 2012

        Working harder is no answer if you have no talent. The US girls have plenty of talent, it's their dependance on advice or instruction from the experts that confuses them. Bubba Watson, Annika, Lee Travina Bobby Jones and I think all of the Korean ladies dispensed with "experts"
        Unfortunately Michelle Wie hast lost her free swinging early talent, and is all tied by the mechanics of the swing.
        Kids learn mostly by watching their parents or their heroes, some of whom are golfers.

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Women American golfers

            Sam Walk wrote on: Sep 13, 2013

            I agree with many of the comments concerning Korean golfers. Obviously, the U.S. women golfers seem to concentrate on looks. However, this is the way it goes in America. We want our women to look nice. I do regret that the LPGA seems to be top-heavy with foreign golfers. I watch the LPGA and support for our American golfers. It's somewhat difficult to identify with the oriental women golfers. As a golfer, I seem to be able to learn more from the women that from the men (who I believe are really space aliens sent to earth to confuse us duffers). Stacy Lewis is one of my favorites.

            Reply

  • Korean Golf..

    Patrick Horvat wrote on: Dec 31, 2011

    Not to mention, in Korea they have the KGU (Korean Golf University) at Samael, where students are housed and trained to become world class golfers. We are going to start seeing some men coming out of here as well in the next year or so. It has only been open for a couple years. The new practice area is finished and the level of competition is high.

    Reply

  • typical...

    grownup124 wrote on: Jul 11, 2011

    typical american response/inquiry i suppose...times have changed and any sport will get more competitive as time passes. baseball was invented in the US and yet it is being dominated by the latin american crowd. soccer was created in england and yet a south american team is the gold standard. europeans are becoming more relevant in basketball, etc. etc...as any sport gets more popular, there will be non-americans that excel. just happens that se ri pak really set the tone for the young korean girls...prior western physical "superiority" has become marginalized as diet/living standards have converged between east/west...

    Reply

  • Koreans on LPGA tour

    Mikey Derv wrote on: Jun 18, 2010

    A quick comment - not exactly on point re the LPGA, more related to Korean-American parenting. A few years a young Korean lady was admitted to Yale Univ. after a stellar high school record, i believe, at a Calif H.S. After about one year at Yale, tragically, she took her life, - i remember- by jumping off a building. When campus counsellors investigated why, discovered that she essentially had no friends, or support group at Yale. Her parents had reportedly pushed her into Yale, without thinking of how she might fit it, at that campus.

    Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        Ed Lee wrote on: Aug 2, 2010

        I too am a Korean that went to an Ivy League school along with thousands of others Koreans that I've met. None of them have killed themselves and most have great support groups. To point out one anomaly and infer that it is a stereotype of Korean parenting is misleading at best.
        Sure my parents pressured me but nothing too overbearing or inappropriate in retrospect. In fact my life is easy compared to theirs. They survived the Korean war, grew up in an impoverish country, and started a new life in a foreign land with no money and finally living a comfortable life.

        Reply

  • Korean Women Golfers

    John Yim wrote on: Jul 30, 2009

    Raising a woman golfer is a risky proposition if you are in it for the money. On the other hand, if you happen to have a daughter and you are trying to guide her life to the maximum degree of happiness, doesn't professional golf make sense? If she becomes a pro and does well for a year, isn't that better than working as a 3rd grade teacher for 30 years? If she doesn't reach pro but just gets a good tan and marries well, also a win. If she turns out to be a dentist but turns to golf as a favored activity, fine also. The worst case scenario is that she get struck by lightning out on the course. I am somewhat of an expert in Korean culture and must say that no parent or child every dismisses the importance of education. These parents simply opt for golf education first.
    In adress to the reason for their dominance, let us probe this issue with some ideas:
    1. Genetics of stouter lower body that gives a greater degree of consistency, leader to greater accuracy. Michelle Wie is an anomoly. I just wish she wasn't so young. grrr.
    2. High mixture of intelligence, muscle memory, and diligence.
    3. Confidence. Were Korean women different before Seri Park? No. It's just that no one had really achieved it before. Watch a historic parallel with Yuna Kim in women's figure skating.
    While I'm at it, let me predict that the next decade will see a rise in the percentage of Korean male golfers, although they will never dominate the sport completely. Anthony Kim is just the beginning. When his belt buckle reaches its optimum satellite reception, his game is quite entertaining. That is because he speaks the language. Women players are the same. You try cracking a joke while competing in Yemen. It's hard.
    Anyways, my message is : "Don't hate." While professional sports remains a pure meritocracy, it will have value. Once you start requiring language skills and a passport, you bring the sport roughly parallel to professional wrestling. I used to wrestle in high school and I never used a figure-4 leglock on my opponents. Let's not require these talented girls to do anything but raise the level of the game. If you are mad, then win. If you can't win, then watch - silently.

    Reply

  • Korean Golfers

    Janet Miller wrote on: Jul 12, 2009

    I know the Korean girls are great but why did we let so many get into the LPGA. This kinda gets old to watch another country come and take over. I much rather watch American girls play. No wonder the LPGA isn't doing good. I won't watch if I see the list leading with a bunch of Koreans. It does not interst me one bit. I think whoever let the door open should close it. Sure they work hard. So does our girls. That doesn't mean they should take over USA LPGA golf.

    Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        Lindsey wrote on: Jul 16, 2011

        Janet Miller could you be any more racist. The lpga is there to showcase the best players in the world not just the U.S. If the US girls can't win then there not the best in the world kind of like your country. I personally dont want to watch US girls shoot 80 to win a tournament I like to watch good golf from who ever shoots it.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        dave wrote on: Jun 20, 2011

        I can understand where you're coming from but let's not forget all the money that's being made from foreign sponsorship and TV rights.
        Also, I don't think an event where only Americans can participate would be as popular. People want to see fierce competition.
        However, in the long run, I do believe that Asians (as China gets into a golf frenzy) will dominate the LPGA and PGA and golf will gradually lose popularity in the US for the exact reason that you stated.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        Robin wrote on: Dec 13, 2010

        American Parents left the door open. American parents have lost focus of what is important. Working hard, family values, doing whatever it takes to help your children win. Win at whatever they are good at. American's have become lazy. Have no fear I will have an American Golfer for you to watch in a few years. She is 12 now but mark my words after playing in the Olympics you will see her up there on the top of the leader board. American parents have to be willing to sacrafice everything if there kids are going to be in the running. I will retire with wealth or I will be completely broke. I'm happy with either one. But, my children will have know the value of hard work, family values and the taste of success.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        Glenn Shaw wrote on: Jun 7, 2010

        This makes sense. Pro golfers are entertainers. We may or may not like watching a Denzel Washington movie, and we may or may not enjoy watching a lot of Korean women golfers.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        utot wrote on: Feb 13, 2010

        you are stupid! Do are so narrow minded. Yes the Americans work hard but they're not winning all the time are they?!!!

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        Richard wrote on: Sep 13, 2009

        Its unfortunate that these plyers don't get a educationand parents sre pushing kids to make it. If our girls didn't go to school I am sure they would be better mgolfers but there comes a time when golfing is over and then what . Its sad for the LPGA don't get involved in trying to insure this is not fair for the gilrs. If they start out young playing everyday and don't make it what do you do with them ??

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        Lisa Brown wrote on: Aug 23, 2009

        Obviously, our girls are not good enough to 'take over' the LPGA. The world doesn't really care if you would watch LPGA, or if Americans 'takes it over.' The whole world only cares about who's the best and so far it has been Korean girls. If you find it unacceptable, then simply do not watch it. Obviously, you are not a golfer.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        alexandra wrote on: Aug 17, 2009

        you have a valid point. American golf spectors do want to see more american women players. However, like all sports, more diverse national groups are entering golf. Of course, all involved would like to see more polished players in the korean women players such as Tiger Woods. However, the korean ladies and their parents will eventually navigate the game of sponsorship, and some may transcend into golf-stardom. But honestly all can agree that we, americans should look at large representation of korean women in the sport as a challenge for american women players to work harder, making LPGA more exciting! my guess is that, there are already american superstars developing about to transcend in the sport of golf! Let us wait and see!

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        zen wrote on: Jul 12, 2009

        I did not know there was supposed to be a limit on how many golfers are allowed to play in the LPGA, get a clue lady, the Korean women are good because they work hard to be good, also, the talent pool in US Women golf is not that deep for now, but you'll see that in the future, when there are some money to be made in women's golf there will be slew of talent that will emerge from the US! Do you think the MLB should limit how many Latin baseball players should be allowed to play in the MLB? Please don't let your zenophobic mind control your social thoughts

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Korean Golfers

            hope wrote on: Jul 20, 2009

            But can they survive a steroid test?

            Reply

  • ?!

    cindy wrote on: Dec 2, 2008

    QUIT school? Not if you're Korean-American! In Korea, opportunities in higher education are really limited (expensive, borderline suicidal competitive) and there aren't too many opportunities to become fabulously rich either. If you're good at something like golf...you have money AND esteem.
    If you're Korean-American, you are expected to be a fabulous golfer AND #1 student :X

    Reply

  • Koreans

    dan hill wrote on: Oct 4, 2008

    Grew up in Taejon, South Korea as part of a missionary family. 2 comments.
    1. There is a singleminded-ness and determination to be successful among (South Koreans) Koreans that is truly refreshing. in the 60s and 70s when I grew up there, they were dirt poor. My parents started orphanges there and would get AmericaN CHURCHES TO sponsor and support them. Now South Korea is the most internet wired country (per capita basis) in the world. Watch out, they are just getting started.
    2. The difference between South Koreans (Samsung, LG, Daewoo, Hyundai,Posco, etc.) vs North koreans who can barely feed themselves (and who are now on average 3-4 inches shorter than their South Korean brothers and sisters is the world's biggest testament to the superiority of capitalism vs. communism.

    Reply

  • Korean women golfers

    eddie yoon wrote on: Aug 27, 2008

    The article don't really explain why Korean women golfers dominate in US. If the article is true, they why is it then Korean men do not dominate golf in U.S, as women do?

    Reply

      • RE: Korean women golfers

        Oliver Chettle wrote on: Nov 5, 2009

        One reason I never see mentioned is that it is just a lot easier to dominate women's golf because it is a much smaller sport. Far more men play golf in far more countries, so the standards at the top of the sport are close to the maximum possible level, which was certainly not the case in women's golf before the Korean's came along.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean women golfers

        alexandra wrote on: Aug 17, 2009

        i believe that korean women are "dominating" the sport presently for a couple of reasons. The korean culture plays a major part. All parents globally consider it a basic parental right to lead their child to success, however korean parents may have advantageous motivating factors. In south korea, there are fewer spots to enter college, compared to the american counterparts. Education in south korea is paramount, education leads to job security, class elevation through marriage and social networking, all equating to money, marriage, and higher national fullfillment. Well, when korean parents see golf on tv or begin playing it for recreation, some fall in love with the sport. And typical of korean parents, they have this insatisble desire to pour the love of succeeding into their children. Korean parents typically sacrifice themselves, and boldly lead their children to success. However if korean children aren't sacrificing to play golf, then they will be sacrificing in piano, in hard manual, etc... To koreans sacrificing is a non-issue. The issue is "will my child discipline her talent in golf that brings prestige to country, family, and then to herself; or discipline her talent in a job that her parents generation already sacrificed for?

        Reply

  • LOL..dumb article..what about PGA then ??

    JB wrote on: Jul 9, 2008

    Please say things that make sense... if its the way of the parents..why arent all the koreans quitting school to win every gold medal in the Olympics? Also explain why Korean men arent that succesful in PGA. LOL. Just Anthony Kim and K.J. Choi.

    Reply

      • RE: LOL..dumb article..what about PGA then ??

        Alain Lam wrote on: Jul 8, 2010

        One thing the world should know that Korean man has to do their military service for 2-3 years i think. So, it makes a break in their golf career.

        Reply

          • RE: LOL..dumb article..what about PGA then ??

            Andy wrote on: Jul 5, 2012

            It's true, but athletes can delay their service. Some don't service until they are in their late 30's. Some successful athletes receive an exemption from Korean government if they win something or accomplish something. Example, 2002 Korean World Cup team, they didn't win the World Cup, but because they reached the semi-final, all soccer players were exempt...or 2008 Korean Olympic Baseball team, they won the gold so all players were exempt...get it. To me, it is very strange that Koreans are dominating LPGA but not PGA...

            Reply

      • RE: LOL..dumb article..what about PGA then ??

        alexandra wrote on: Aug 17, 2009

        i believe that korean parents and korean society place great expectation on male children to secure traditional route of success through the university, traditional careers post-graduation and golf is a non-traditional way. In addition, all males attend mandatory military training for three years, even if it breaks the tempo of a golfing career, piano career, or higher education. Imagine Tiger Woods breaking practice for three years in his early twenties, while his competitors continue practicing. Then culturally, korean parents expect their daughters to succeed in education, in career, only until they marry and are expected to quit their jobs to raise the next generation of children. For korean parents to focus on their daughters in golf, while their sons are in the army is not favoritism but situational. Because after all, what a great sport to play at an international level. And yes there are always exceptions to the rule!

        Reply

  • Korean women golfers

    Kevin C wrote on: Jun 4, 2008

    For want of a better explanation, I will accept Jennifer Mario's explanation of why Korean women excell on the LPGA tour with just a home population of 45 million as a demographic pool. As a comparison, the Dominican Republic has more major leaguers per capita than any other country playing baseball. Why? Early identification of talent and a "support" system that raises their game as a means to escape poverty. We have nothing comparable on a national basis for golf. Look at what Sweden does with a small population base and inhospitible weather with their national golf program. I for one find the Korean girls as attractive as any other nationality on the LPGA and love their fluid swings.

    Reply

  • Women over Men

    Clint Chang wrote on: Jun 3, 2008

    A lot of people ask why the Korean women are having success but the men aren't. I think the big reason is that you cannot compare the talent pool in the PGA vs. the LPGA. If anything, I think this shows how considerably weaker the talent pool in the LPGA is. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of outstanding players on the LPGA, but the fact that it's so easy for 16 year olds to win (Korean or not) tournaments and even majors shows that the existing competition out there is just not that great.
    Men's golf is just so much more competitive worldwide that it's so much harder to break in, let alone win.

    Reply

  • It's largely true.

    Scott KIM wrote on: May 18, 2008

    First of all, I would like to say that I'm Korean. Although much of this article doesnt portray Korean parents positively, the Korean mindset is without a doubt "all or nothing"; consequently, Korean parents tend to drive their kids to the "all" portion of the statement. However, I would like to say that Korean kids (especially first generation Korean-Americans) often times feel as though the forceful attempt in the kids' childhood was not necessary. After all, we don't know what is going to happen in the future, so why should we waste our childhoods? Balance is the key to everything, and that's the concept Korean parents have not grasped yet.

    Reply

      • RE: It's largely true.

        Jimin wrote on: Aug 29, 2008

        Scott, grow up and get some therapy.

        Reply

          • RE: RE: It's largely true.

            binky wrote on: Sep 9, 2010

            actually scott is onto something there.
            And he is correct. My experience caddying
            for korean nationals is really that few
            families have access to the limited golf
            courses and the driving ranges are loaded
            with korean men...honing their skills..
            the really good korean players have been
            playing in australia and living with other
            korean host families and trying their lot
            in the u.s.a. A very common pathway for
            korean women has been to go to schools like pepperdine and play 1-3 years before
            turning pro..either futures tour or klpga
            or other tours.

            Reply

  • Koreans on LPGA tour

    Jessica Lipz wrote on: Jul 24, 2007

    I have a comment, and try to not take this as a xenophobic remark. I am just going to relate what I have witnessed. My husband and our friends all watch golf, PGA, LPGA, and Seniors. Without a doubt, the guys enjoy women's golf, but they lose interest so fast when the final two, or four, or three of the four, groups in the final round, are mostly Korean, due to their, and I quote, lack of a personality. Who really cares if Seon Hwa Lee wins or not, we don't know her, and the vacant emotions leave the TV audience begging for something more. So, it ends up that the announcers "fill", and that just makes it more obvious and worse. Many do not speak English, so who knows what is going on. I can say, give me Sergio Garcia ANYDAY over the calm, somewhat cold, and bland personalities of the Koreans on the LPGA tour. They are great golfers to be on the tour, but Jan Stephenson said it years ago, not nicely I guess, but kind of right on. They are killing the LPGA tours excitement. Give us more Kerr, Creamer, Inkster, Davies and Pressel. Not racist, just a viewers choice. But what can be done? Limit the number on tour? Tell us.

    Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        Cathy wrote on: Jul 10, 2009

        When you say you aren't trying to be "racist" you are being one and thats the fact. The message you are sending in your comment, is completely ignorant and very foolish. Your quote "Who really cares if Seon Hwa Lee wins or not, we don't know her.." Fact is people who actually CARE about golf do CARE. You're basically saying "I want Americans to win" thing is you are SUPER JEALOUS of the great, talented, LPGA Korean players. BTW when you say the Korean players have a somewhat cold and bland personlaities of the Koreans, I want to ask, have you even met them? Who are you to say what their personality is. The winners are the people who DESERVE and worked really HARD for it, regardless of their color. If you care about golf then you should care about the players regardless of their color.

        Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        rachel wrote on: Apr 13, 2009

        What you are trying to say isn't racist but it is very ignorant. First off you are essentializing Korean women/culture to say that they are cold and distant. Secondly, golf only in the last couple of years has become "entertaining". Go back in the 30s and you won't see fist-pumping and yells of excitement. Its all relative.

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

            JP wrote on: Sep 19, 2009

            Fact: LPGA talent pool and competitivness is FAR less than the men's PGA TOUR.
            Also coupled with the fact that no one seems to mention the genetic factors. Asians, or koreans in particular probably have one of the best hand-eye coordination, balance of power, speed, agility and endurance. Most american players or europeans players are either very powerful but very poor precision or very good precision but no endurance. That's why sports like ping pong, archery, ice skating, and now even baseball (Korea #1, Japan #2) are great sports for them. Just like why track and field / 100m is dominated by blacks, these sports will be and are already dominated by Koreans/asians.

            Reply

          • RE: RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

            yuppie wrote on: Jun 30, 2009

            Jessica's comments are SPOT ON, and I don't think Rachel understand sports marketing today. I happened to have studied sports marketing, by watching the likes of Steve Miller from Nike, among others. These guys turned sports like professional wrestling, NASCAR and even professional bowling into huge successes. If you listen to Miller, you'll learn that sports are now marketing its players as characters. You have the clean cut guy, the bad boy, and so on and so on. Both the PGA and the LPGA does NOT market its sports like NASCAR, and that is the major problem. The PGA TOUR is lucky to have Tiger and Sergio. The LPGA has a huge problem in that the Koreans have NOTHING to give in personality. Americans want personalities and great stories about them. I work both the Fields Open and the SBS Open, and from my experience, these Korean players is as entertaining as looking at a abstract piece of art - you see them, but you just can't understand them. Mark my words - the LPGA will continue in a decline until someone there can re-market the product to appeal more towards Americans.

            Reply

              • RE: RE: RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

                Andy wrote on: Jul 5, 2012

                You're somewhat correct, but what about WNBA? Seriously who watches WNBA? And majority are Americans. Or what about Women's Pro Soccer? The league recently folded...And again, majority were Americans. What happened? American players had NOTHING to give in personality??? Hope Solo, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Alex Morgan etc...The truth is that, expect for women's tennis, majority don't care for women's pro sports. Problem is that, men don't care for women's sport...and women don't follow women's sport like men do. This is the problem. Get it...

                Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        cindy wrote on: Dec 2, 2008

        I totally get what you're saying and no it's not racist, etc. It's just a difference between east and west. In eastern culture, it's not polite to brag or joke around when you're "working". Even if it's golf, you are representing your parents. That's a big thing in Korea, whatever you do/say/act, it's a reflection of your upbringing. If you try to be all cute or charming, it can be seen as big-headed and show-offy. That's why Michelle Wie is considered a bit "scandalous"...her clothes and swagger can be misinterpreted.
        Hey,it gets hot as anything out there on the course so I understand her tank top! But to Koreans in Korea, it can be too showy and showy=sexy=loose morals=bad family...that's usually the formula :P
        Keep your head down and work hard, succeed, that's the Korean way.

        Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        Jimin wrote on: Aug 29, 2008

        Jessica Lipz - you're stupid.

        Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        Jonathan Bates wrote on: Jun 30, 2008

        Jessica, your comments highlight not that you are xenophobic but that you merely want to be entertained. If Kerr, Creamer, Inster, Davies and Pressel were only sub-par players would you really want to watch their golf game on TV just because they are full of personality? What does this do for the sport of women's golf?. If that is what you, your husband and friends enjoy then maybe you guys would enjoy it more if the LPGA was played out in bikinis. These Korean women are here because, as Clint Chang pointed out, and rightly so, that the talent pool was ripe for such an "invasion". If the talent in the LPGA never gets better but only becomes more entertaining because the women are showing more personality, then the LPGA will never be a respected sport but merely an entertaining sideshow of the PGA. You want more Kerr, Creamer, Inkster, Davies and Pressel as opposed to Kim, Park, Lee, Chang, and the Choi's? Maybe they should entertain less and improve their golfing ability. In the end, nobody wants to watch sub-par athletes just because he/she is fun to be around. We want GREAT golf. Besides, whom one animate themselves to be on TV might not be who they are. Did you ever think of that possibility? That in the face of lack of talent and skill, they yuk it up for TV? As if you are ever really going to "know" these players because of some emotional outburst or a witty response to an interview or an endearing soundbite. The TV audience is not so shallow as you make us out to be. Why would you mention Jan Stephenson who is credited with the follow: "We have to promote sex appeal. It's a fact of life. The people who watch are predominantly male, and they won't keep watching if the girls aren't beautiful" ??? I believe you merely want to be entertained and not ever be inspired by the sport that the LPGA provides female athletes. It is not just a game to these women that actually compete at this top level.

        Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        sangmanhahn wrote on: Jun 29, 2008

        Your comment sounds a little racist but what you said is probably true. . When unknown personalities dominate, viewers lose interest...

        Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        Angela wrote on: Jun 1, 2008

        A quota on different races on the LPGA? If that isn't a xenophobic remark, I don't know what is. Thanks for taking the great American ideals like freedom and liberty back to the pre-civil rights era Jessica Lipz.
        Also, very general, stereotypical remarks made about Korean parents.

        Reply

      • RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

        RCH wrote on: May 27, 2008

        Teach American girls how to play golf better. Otherwise, the USA needs more waitresses and bartenders....

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Koreans on LPGA tour

            Jimin wrote on: Aug 29, 2008

            RCH - I agree!!!! You made me laugh.

            Reply

  • BS

    charles wrote on: Jul 21, 2007

    what kind of BS diatribe is this? what kind of reaction from the public are you trying to get out of writing this article, which is poorly written by the way...
    learn how to critically reason instead of holding illogical fallacies to be all encompassing truths. some koreans work hard. some korean parents push their children hard. likewise, some americans work hard and some american parents push their children hard. your childish rants just make you look silly...

    Reply

  • bogus article

    elliot wrote on: Jul 10, 2007

    totally bogus. If this were true (strict korean parenting leads to successful golfers) than Korean men would also dominate since they have Korean parents. Also, Japan was the strict work-crazy country in the 90's but they didn't produce many LPGA OR PGA golfers.
    This is a diatribe which is senseless. Korean female golfers don't undergo strict parenting. Their rich parents fly them off to Australia and New Zealand where they enjoy a comfortable lifestyle (including school studies) which revolve around constant golf - just like their white counterparts.

    Reply

  • Korean Golfers

    Chris Henry wrote on: Jul 4, 2007

    The issue with Michelle Wie and her parents is not that she's won a million dollars and finished high in several majors; it's that her parents have decided - with or without the approval of her major sponsor, Nike - to push her to compete in PGA events. That is where her talent is being wasted. She has yet to win on the LPGA Tour. Let's remember, also, that she is not a member of that tour, yet. She plays in events, LPGA or PGA, on sponsor exemptions. She has not really had a "rookie year", therefore.
    So, parenting style is not the issue. Michelle Wie has learned how to play golf thanks to her parents. Now they need to give their heads a shake and stop pushing her into men's events.

    Reply

      • RE: Korean Golfers

        Anonymous wrote on: Nov 1, 2009

        Hey Chris, you should not say insulting things about someone else's parents especially Michelle's. Do you know how much they gave up for their only daughter to be an amazing player? They just want her to be better, so deal with it. Last time I saw they were applauding for her daughter.

        Reply

  • Korean Women Golfers

    James Kim wrote on: Jul 3, 2007

    This article unfairly stereotypes Korean parents and doesn't adequately explain the success of Koreans on the LPGA tour. Are you saying there aren't pushy American parents? I would argue there are just as many pushy American parents. Consider the IMG David Leadbetter Academy where the sole purpose is to produce a professional golfer. If Korean parents were so pushy, why is KJ Choi the only Korean male to win on the PGA tour? As a Korean, I'm offended by the stereotype your're perpetuating.

    Reply

      • RE: Korean Women Golfers

        yuppie wrote on: Jun 30, 2009

        Did anyone forget about the fact that Korean mean must spend two years in military service? Two years away from anything is HUGE! Look at the Korean drama actors like Won Bin who had to fulfill his duty; once they return, they're not the same people. People like KJ Choi is the creme of the creme of the crop. Unlike the females, the males must be extra tough to make it in sports.
        In my honest opinion, I think the female Koreans have it much easier in its culture than the men. The men have a whole lot more pressure, as they need to focus on a multitude of the things, such as carrying the family name, building a career, military service... Men are great in team sports like soccer and baseball because of the team effort. When it comes to individual sports, the men are not as successful as their female counterparts. Korean society allows females the freedom to choose what they want to do, and place all of their energy on that one goal.
        So in short, yes the parents have a play in the success of their girls. But society gives the girls more freedom then the boys.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Women Golfers

        sangmanhahn wrote on: Jun 29, 2008

        I think that most Korean parents don't want their boys spend too much time in "risky" adventures like in sports field, because only a few out of thousands who try may succeed. . I mean, they think it's OK for girls to fail because women usually are not the breadwinners.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Women Golfers

        Greg wrote on: Mar 29, 2008

        You claim that the original post "doesn't adequately explain the success of Koreans on the LPGA tour." So you acknowledge the abundance of successful Korean female golfers, yet you offer no alternate explanation for that success. It's very easy to criticize and righteously complain that you are offended. It's quite another to put forth your own well thought out theory and submit it for criticism. Since you are the expert on Korean culture, please tell me why the success of women golfers in Korea has not been mirrored by Korean men. Or is that question too loaded with cultural stereotypes to warrant an answer?

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Korean Women Golfers

            Bruce wrote on: Jul 2, 2008

            The reason the Korean men do not have the same level of success may in some way be attributable to the two years compulsory military training they are forced to undertake at a key age in their golfing development whereas the girls only need to do it 'if they so desire'

            Reply

  • Korean Women Golfers

    Gene Smith wrote on: Jul 3, 2007

    Sorry, but the article on the success of women golfers from Korea doesn't help---if parenting were the cause, why haven't the men golfers from Korea equally succeeded? And why haven't golfers from other countries in the world where strict parental oversight is common been so successful?
    Truth is, American parents are as "pushy" as those from any country when it comes to producing high quality performance from their gifted children---
    Also, not everyone has the talent to excel in a chosen sport, no matter how much "pushing" they get.
    Got to be some other reason.

    Reply

      • RE: Korean Women Golfers

        Joe Bertola wrote on: Oct 14, 2008

        It would seem logical that if any country that is enormously overrepresented statistically in a sport, the talent pool in that sport must be thin. Otherwise, pushy parenting or whatever else it is wouldn't work.

        Reply

  • Korean Women Golfers

    Martha Huntley wrote on: Jul 2, 2007

    Excellent column...interesting and I learned something! Thanks!

    Reply

      • RE: Korean Women Golfers

        Jimin wrote on: Aug 29, 2008

        Martha Huntly, if you did find this column interesting and you learned something - then I guess you weren't too smart to begin with.

        Reply

      • RE: Korean Women Golfers

        Song Chul Hong wrote on: Jul 3, 2007

        I'm Korean. Good Column, I think. In addition.....
        Almost Korean Parents hope that their children are studying very very .... hard. But,strangly, such is exception to childisy sports man and women.

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Korean Women Golfers

            Dan wrote on: May 24, 2010

            No personalities, no identies, no speak english = no ratings. Simple as that.

            Reply

              • RE: RE: RE: Korean Women Golfers

                randy s wrote on: Jun 1, 2010

                I disagree. They have alot of personality and they are hot!! I luv Se Re Pak!!! Yummy!!

                Reply

                  • Korean Golfer

                    Joe K wrote on: Sep 30, 2010

                    Regardless, who, where, what?
                    I like golf,love watching gold and playing golf. (I wish I can play like a pro) I wish US wins Ryder's cup. Eventhough I am an Canadian.

                    Reply

                      • RE: Korean Golfer

                        Gwen Conley wrote on: Sep 9, 2011

                        I enjoyed reading the article. It was enlightening and, of course, there were things that I already understood about the "Asian" culture in general... which I think is a "good" thing. The more you give your kids, the better they will fair in life - if they choose to. We certainly can see the downside of things - if you don't push them to be their best!
                        Thanks for the article.

                        Reply

                          • RE: RE: Korean Golfer

                            marco mundo wrote on: Oct 18, 2013

                            Law of averages. Korean ladies play a lot of golf.

                            Reply

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