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Imagine walking on the soggy grass, enjoying the splendid sun, listening to the breeze sing, feeling the crispy sounds of the clicking iron against the key winning piece. Suddenly, it’s my turn to hit. Rocks dropping on my heart, my breath feels heavy…

August 4, 2020. The time has finally come, weeks and weeks of preparation, hundreds and thousands of balls hit, just for this moment. It has been over a year since my last tournament after an injury. I step up to the first tee, nervous but excited, and hit one straight into the rough. Hundreds of people clap for me, but I stay calm, and focused.

I was born after three other amazing human beings, two sisters and a brother; however, being the youngest in the family, everyone took care of me and gave me lots of attention. Naturally, expectations were set one after another: grades, sports, as well as manners. Eventually, I got tired of it, and I immediately told my parents, I was getting tired of school and needed something to distract me. That’s when my dad being one of the most elite amateur golfers in Taiwan, brought me to Tamsui golf course, located in Northern Taiwan, and at that moment, I swiftly fell in love with the sport that changed me as a person.

Stepping up to the tee box on hole 6, my body was loose, and I was up for any challenge thrown my way. I hit a gorgeous shot into the fairway and confidently looked back at my dad, and gave him a thumbs up.

Having witnessed the brilliant players on the course, my dad instantly agreed when I told him I wanted to go pro. During summer vacation, I spent 8 hours a day at the driving range, being only 6 years old, I was given the label “future star." Thinking it was going to be a stress-free sport, my all-time fear, expectations have come back to haunt me; everyone expected me to become a professional golfer since I started when I was 6 because my dad was such an amazing player. The whole world expected me to be like my dad. For 6-years-old me, it has been like an immense rock on top of me. The pressure from the world kept me from improving.

Onto hole 13, after recovering months from my horrific injury. My body felt fatigued and heavy, my legs screaming at me, and I had a cramp in the middle of my golf swing. The ball flew slowly in the air, splashing into the water. I was equally disappointed and mad at the same time. I looked back at my dad’s big smile, but I knew he wasn’t pleased. That was when I met my first coach, a coach that changed my life forever, a coach that changed my perspective towards the game.

Finally, hole 18, I stepped up to the tee box, people surrounding the putting green. My body felt tense again, pressure came back to haunt me. My backswing felt weird. I struck a shot. I wasn’t pleased at all. While the ball was in mid air, it felt like my heart was vibrating, and it felt like one full hour passed. However, I was able to recover the rest of the hole and make a par. Shooting a 71 on that day, I was pleased, since it was my first tournament back. I couldn’t be happier.

Golf has taught me numerous things about life. While golf is the the dream, it has taught me to move on with life. It has taught me to take things slowly, and finally, it has taught me the values of life: to be respectful, honest, and have courage. I shall never regret telling myself that I needed something to distract me from school, because it started a brand-new chapter in my life, a never-ending chapter with unending possibilities.

© Jack Teng. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.