Bul Gol Ki Power Part One

By Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 30, 2011

Se Ri Pak

Se Ri Pak

OAKLAND, CA—For those that don’t know what Bul Gol Ki is? It’s an appetizing grilled marinated Korean beef barbecue dish served with rice. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.

About 15 years ago the Korean Ladies Professional Golfers Association (KLPGE) took the world by storm in 1998 with the sensational Se Ri Pak, Rookie of the Year leading the way.

The first Korean wave included Grace Park, Kim Young, and Mi Hyun Kim. Young Korean girls watched these three talented golfers and wanted to emulate them.

Pak was the female Tiger Woods, with her long drives from the Tee and has the ability to hit the greens consistently. She started a new trend when she used her legs instead of her arms to hit long drives. Pak made other golfers bulk up and hit longer stokes, similar as Tiger Woods who influenced the change in the men’s game.

When Galbi power, (Korean BBQ ribs), hit the golf course the 2nd wave of new young stars from Seoul, Korea arrived. From the money leaders list of the golfers tour Na Yeon Choy, Jiyai Shin, and In Kyung Kim, 7,8, and 9 respectively in the world. With the guide of their role models ten years earlier prove to the world they are ready to hit the golf course.

The so called “Se Ri Kids”, include Meena Lee, Jeong Jang, Hee Won Han, Bo Bae Song Aree Song, Christine Song, Jennifer Song, Hyun Hee Moon, Minny Yeo, Soo Young Kang, Birdie Kim, Ha Neul Kim, In Bee Park and 19 year old Jiyai Shin. Many think that Shin could be the next Se Ri Pak, Shin exhibits many of Pak’s mannerisms.

A new door has opened for these young Korean women and it’s on the golf links.

Kimchi power, there are so many Korean players they even have their own golfing magazine called The Seoul Sisters Magazine. At one tournament last year 30 players with Korean surnames were on the leader board, it looked like a Seoul, phone book.

Three things stand out to make these golfers great, 1) the Asian parenting style, 2) the Korean national sponsorship system, and 3) the persistence by the player at being a better golfer. Yes, Allen Iverson, PRACTICE, PRACTICE not the game.

This concept is different in the United States. The American golfer has to prove to the sponsors that they can not only play but win. So American players are always searching for sponsors and causing them to miss tournaments. Korean golfers never have to worry about plane faire, equipment, or clothing.

In Korea, parents motivate their children to excel at their craft unlike American children who are allowed to play until they enter high school. The mindset is completely different in Korea, You must be successful at everything, even their hobbies. Korean children become responsible at the age of 12 to 14 which is unthinkable in the United States.

Next are the Korean-American women, Michelle Wie and Christina Kim swinging their putters and five irons on the golf course.

The controversy raised its ugly head in America ten years ago, with Hawaiian resident Michelle Seong-mi Wie being too young to play in tournaments at 16. Wie played well but her parents wanted her to play on the men’s PGA Tour and win. These were high expectations from a 16 year old. Michelle finally fired her father as caddy and advisor and moved on in life, a move of independence. In Korea this would never happen.

Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie

Wie suffered greatly from the pressure from her parents and the American news media. She went to college to clear her mind and be with people her own age. The trip to Stanford University was a good choice for Wie. Michelle also went to Q-school (golf qualification school) where she was just another player that had to pass the test, and Wie had to start at the beginning.

Christina Kim- a Bay Area native from San Jose, California was the Rookie of the Year in 2003. Kim was the youngest player to reach the 1 million dollar mark. The record has since been broken by many other great young female golfers. Kim has made seven top ten finishes, two LPGA victories, and finished third in 2009 at the Women’s British Cup. In 2011 she entered 8 tournaments missing two and ranked 13th overall

Christina Kim

Christina Kim

Level headed and consistent Christina Kim plays like a machine. One cannot miss her with her different multi colored outfits.

Last the training which Korean golfers take very seriously. Even to the point where some contestants drop out of school and some never complete high school. This is one of the bad effects of the Korean determination.

Some Korean parents have sold their houses quit their jobs to subsidize their little girls dream of being a golf pro. This seldom happens in the United States.

This puts pressure on the very young athlete. If they don’t make it, they feel obligated to pay their parents back, which often not accomplished. Saving face is a very important part of the Asian culture.

The Korean excellence in golf caused an Anglo-American backlash. Hall of Famer, Jan Stevenson made brash racial statements. Carol Mann also joined the chorus last year. The LPGA attempted to force these young ladies to speak English or be forced off the tour. It did not happen because the world rallied behind the Asian players and their civil rights.

In 1998 LPGA Champion Se Ri Pak conducted many interviews in broken English. In 2011 Pak conducted her interviews with interesting and insightful thoughts of the game in fluent English. So if the Korean players stay on the PGA Tour they will learn English. So the Jan Stevenson, Carol Mann, and LPGA point became mute and void.

American golfers should consider studying the Korean way of playing this very difficult game, because at the current time the Americans are struggling.


Copyrighted 2011@ Gary Norris Gray- Gray Leopard Prod.