Arianna Lau is not your typical six-year-old girl.
She started practicing golf at three, won first runner-up at the Callway Junior World Golf Championship in July, bagged the 2014 FCG International Junior World Golf Championship in the same month, and is on her way to become a professional world champion at such a tender age.
Her dad Roy Lau hopes that as she continues to reap more honors, she will maintain her balance and grow up to be a loving, caring individual.
“I hope she will develop the character and attitude of a world champion, without focusing too much on the trophies. She will not be a champion all her life, but her character will stay with her,” the father tells Apple Daily.
To her parents’ delight, Arianna has remained an obedient, loving and unspoiled kid. She enjoys playing golf with her parents, and sometimes she would offer an advice or two to her mother to improve her putt and swing.
It’s not easy keeping Arianna at the top of her form. Arianna’s mother Athena Tang has quit her music business to become full-time caddy for her daughter, while the father is responsible for her physical training and fitness.
They spend around HK$6,500 (US$835) every month for the coach fee and other expenses, but the father thinks it’s a wise investment: it’s better to focus their resources on a sport where Arianna has shown a great potential, rather than follow what some parents do, which is to spend on many activities for their kids.
Roy complains that it is hard to find a driving range after the ones in Cheung Sha Wan and the Whitehead Club Golf Driving Range in Ma On Shan shut down.
Arianna trains for three hours on Lantau Island every day after school regardless of the weather. Coach Alexander Cheng said it is good for the parents to train together with Arianna as they will know what their daughter is going through and won’t just blame the kid if she is doing poorly in her performance.
Golf is an expensive sport. It is also getting increasingly difficult to find a suitable venue to practice the sport.
The government has reclaimed the driving range in Cheung Sha Wan to turn it into a public housing estate. In 2012, a driving range in Tseung Kwan O was also shut down for conversion into a private real estate development.
Skycity Nine Eagles Golf Course near the airport in Chek Lap Kok is also going to make way for other construction projects while Kau Sai Chau Golf Club is no longer accepting new members.
“Learning golf is a trend overseas and it allows people of all ages to join,” Roy observes. “You can play a session for US$10, but Hong Kong defines it as a high-end sport, which is why they are taking away the lower-priced driving ranges.”
Oftentimes, he says, it’s the policy that dictates which kind of sports should be played in the city.
Athena hopes her daughter’s victories will inspire more youngsters to take up the sport, and believe that Hong Kong can achieve so much for such a small city.
– Contact us at [email protected]