Monday, May 11, 2009

Korean women and the LPGA

I’m starting a conversation with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA - about how it can continue to serve its Korean player members, who now hold a remarkable 27 of the top 85 slots on the top money list (that’s almost a third), and 6 of the top 15. I can across this article, “Why Korean golfers are dominating LPGA Tour” from June 2007 ( The author notes:

“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.”

One comment from a reader asked, “If this is true, why aren’t Korean men dominating the PGA?”

One thought might be that the men’s tour is still a lot about power and distance and Korean men are a disadvantage physically compared to larger, generally, stronger American, European, and Australian golfers.

Women’s golf obviously has a power / distance component, but accuracy is still – pardon the pun – the driving force to success on the LPGA tour. Accuracy can be increased with diligent practice and the quote above sounds like Koreans girls are out-practicing their western counterparts. ◦

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