Hannah's Dad created her new logo for "Hannah Yun Golf".
With the 2012 LPGA Season starting this week – I’m excited to continue my series of interviews with LPGA and Symetra (Future Tour) players. Hannah Yun’s dream of playing on the LPGA is now a reality. 19-year-old Hannah earned her full Tour card by finishing in the top 20 at the LPGA Q-School last December. Her combined five-day score of 4 over par was good enough to earn her a tie for 15th place and her full LPGA card for the upcoming 2012 LPGA season. I was introduced to Hannah from Dave Andrews the author of the novel, Pops and Sunshine. Dave is a family friend of the Yun family and even caddied for Hannah during Q-School.
LPGA Rookie Hannah Yun - ready for the 2012 Season!
Hannah Yun interview with Pink Diva Golf:
Tell us a little about yourself – hometown, where you live now, college, etc.
Well, I was born in a suburb of San Jose on April 13th, 1992. Having said that my dad was a die hard 49ers fan and was so proud of them being able to come back this season. My parents and I moved down to San Diego when I was nine, and when I turned twelve we went to Bradenton, FL so I could attend the IMG/Leadbetter Golf Academy. I graduated from high school early and went to the University of Florida for a year when I was fifteen. This was a really awkward time for me because I didn’t even have my license yet and was too young to live in the freshman dorms. I started playing on the Futures (now Symetra) Tour as an amateur and when I turned seventeen, I turned pro. My next two seasons on the Symetra Tour were one of the most difficult times of my life, and I ended up taking a six-month hiatus July 2010. Six months ago, I went back to my old coach in San Diego, Kip Puterbaugh. I began spending a lot of time with him and I just recently passed through the LPGA Q-School on my first try to become a rookie for the 2012 season.
Hannah's dad introduced her to the game of golf.
When did you start playing golf? Did you have any special mentors that have influenced your golf career?
I started playing golf when I was four because my parents were avid golfers and wanted me to be able to play and enjoy the game with them. My dad was really the one who introduced me to the world of the LPGA. When I was nine, my coach at our club sat me down in his office and basically told me that I had the talent to compete on the LPGA, and that if I worked hard, I could win the very trophies I saw on TV. You probably know that at age nine, there’s not a whole lot of thought going on in our little brains. This was my thought process in deciding whether or not I wanted to be an LPGA Tour player:
- Do I like golf? Yeah, I have fun on the course.
- Do I want the trophy? Definitely want the shiny.
Ever since then, I’ve been hacking away at the ball trying to get the shiny.
As a 2012 Rookie on the LPGA what are your goals to be successful on the tour?
I’ve been asking myself that question ever since I earned my tour card… At first, I thought that if I finished in the top 50 of the money list at the end of the year, that I would be happy. But as time has passed, I think that was the wrong goal. Ultimately, I want to play my best and compete in every tournament I play; wherever that leads me is where I end up.
What LPGA tournament in 2012 are you most looking forward to playing in and why?
One course that I’m really excited about playing is Royal Melbourne in Australia. I’ve also heard that the Kingsmill tournament, which was just added to the 2012 schedule is another awesome course. I love playing on great courses that are not just challenging but are also fun to play. By that I mean, courses with beauty, and have that natural look to them to fit the scenery.
What’s the strength of your game? And where do you feel you need to improve?
My strength was always in ball striking, hands down. But, I can also say that my putting and short game have improved so much these past 6 months that I am like a different player. Right now, I’m working on hitting my short irons with more accuracy.
What do you like to do when you aren’t playing golf?
I love being outdoors and finding a thrill. While living in Florida, I’ve learned to love the beach and all the activities that are possible. If it’s a sport, I love it. I haven’t had a chance to try all the things I want, but I would love to learn how to race high performance cars, go off-roading, hike, and finally go hunting and fishing with my family. Sadly, I don’t have a whole lot of leisure time at the moment. I take one day a week off, but I usually use it to rest and take it easy. This also gives me an excuse to plant myself in front of the computer and watch Netflix.
Can you tell us something funny and/or interesting about you that most people don’t know?
During my six month hiatus, I went to Korea for the first time in ten years. I spent about a month in Seoul with my family doing nothing, so I got bored. My uncle mentioned a Buddhist temple that trained in a Korean martial art called Sunmudo. Now my parents and I are Christians, but I felt like I needed a life-altering change to get myself back up from my slump, so I went. I lived in the temple for almost two months, learning meditation, archery, and martial arts. They were very accepting of the fact that I was a Christian and respected my beliefs so there was no tension. Other than my mom calling every day to make sure I didn’t shave my head, it was the best time of my life. While I was there, I learned to place myself away from everything in the world and just focus on the present, which made me very happy. My time at the temple gave me the time and space to reflect on my life up to that point and also to think about my future. I realized that the reason I chose golf was because I loved playing and having fun on the course. Through the years of pressure that came with competitive golf, I’d lost that passion. I came back home in January with that burning love I’d had for the game. So many players, even parents, forget about having fun.I made friends while I lived in the temple, and I actually went back this winter during my off-season to visit with them. Last year was the most difficult time I’d had, but it brought me something I will always cherish.
Who would be in your dream foursome? What course would you play?
I’ve been playing with my coach’s Wednesday morning group for a few months now at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe. I love playing golf with this group not because they are the world’s greatest golfers (though they are single handicaps and I lose quite a bit of money to them), but because we all enjoy the game so much.
Se Ri Pak has been a great inspiration for Hannah.
Which LPGA golf pro has been your greatest inspiration and why?
When I was a little girl, I grew up watching Se Ri Pak at her best. I don’t remember much and to be honest, but I know I that I became a golfer because I saw what Se Ri Pak was doing.
Hannah (and her new Tour bag!) during a practice round at the Australia Open with LPGA rookie Ayaka Kaneko.
What’s in your golf bag?
Driver: TaylorMade R11S
Irons: Taylormade MB for 7 iron down, CB for 6-3 irons
Putter: TaylorMade TM-770 Tour
Sponsors: Lotte Mart, TaylorMade, Cheil General Hospital, The Farms Golf Club, Rancho Santa Fe, CA.
Best of luck Hannah on the LPGA in 2012 – and I hope you get the “shiny” very soon!
Listen to Hannah being interviewed on The Golf Club Radio Show, click here!
Follow Hannah on Twitter and Facebook!
Support Women’s Golf – attend an upcoming tournament in 2012 on the LPGA and the Symetra Tours!