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Female Golfer`s Dad Does Everything for Daughter

Posted December. 12, 2009 09:31,   


The father of golfer Kim Mi-hyun, Kim Jeong-gil, always sings “Wait for Tomorrow” by singer Park Kang-seong whenever given the opportunity to croon.

His penchant for the song dates back to the late 1990s, when his daughter began to stand out on the U.S. LPGA Tour. He used to drive his daughter to competitions on his old van.

“I used to drive more than five hours. It took 26 hours to travel the 2,000 kilometers from Orlando to Corning. I slept only two hours. The song is what I hummed while driving,” he said.

Kim Jeong-gil is the symbol of a devoted father in Korea committed to his daughter’s success. He opened Tuesday the golf range Kim Mi-hyun Golf World in Incheon.

As his favorite song says, he is building another future. The range is for his daughter after she retires. Two or three years later, she will return to her hometown and foster future golfers.

The range has one underground level and three above ground and cost seven billion won (6.02 million U.S. dollars). It has 114 tee boxes and a driving range of 220 yards and the height of the steel towers exceed 54 meters.

Kim Jeong-gil plans to open putt and bunker ranges in spring, and is considering opening a short game range on idle land nearby.

“Mi-hyun has expressed her willingness to train junior golfers after retirement. I took her intent into account when building this range to help her become a successful coach.”

Saying it took four years to complete the range including getting the necessary government permits, he said, “I had a lot of trouble due to the construction of the range. Though it was physically hard, I was much happier in the U.S. when I helped my daughter than I am now.”

Kim Jeong-gil entered the military in the late 1960s and fought in the Vietnam War for 18 months. He served at a Coast Guard post as a squad leader when he was assigned to put down a riot that broke out on Silmido in 1971, where soldiers rebelled against their commanders due to abuse in training.

After leaving the military, he began a shoe business and had his young daughter begin playing golf from 1989.

Kim Jeong-gil also played golf, having a single handicap with an average 69. To support his daughter, however, he has not played golf for more than 10 years.

Kim Mi-hyun is among the first generation of female Korean golfers, along with Pak Se-ri and Han Hee-won. Despite being just 155 centimeters tall, she has impressed the world with her play.

She is also known for her generosity, donating 100 million won (85,600 dollars) to charity organizations every year and 100,000 dollars to those affected by Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. in 2007.

Her father is taller than she is at 167 centimeters, but said, “I’m a man of short stature. So I’ve always been sorry for my daughter. Her heart is bigger than anyone else’s, however.”

“If children devote themselves only to golf, they tend to give up early. So learning other things and having a diversity of experiences are necessary. Parents should be well aware of their children’s talent,” he said.

Kim Mi-hyun, who married judoka Lee Won-hee last year, gave birth to a boy last month in Orlando. She will return to Korea at the end of the month to see the range named after her.

Her father said he is counting the days until he can see his daughter and grandson.