Takapuna's Sharon Ahn tees off during the third round of the NZ Womens Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Muriwai Beach Golf Course, Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday 11 March 2006. Photo: Tim Hales/PHOTOSPORT
New Zealand Women's Golf Amateurs Natasha Krishna (L) with partner Sharon Ahn during the Tasman Cup against Australia at Titirangi Golf Club, Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday 9th March, 2005. Photo: Hannah Johnston/Photosport
Phil Thx for the post....candidate for post of the year.
Lydia was so cute when she was young...there are other youtube's of a young Ko.
I've never heard Sharon speaking English. Hopefully Sharon will attempt LPGA Q school one year but I'm not holding my breathe. She could find lightening in a bottle, but I think if she did qualify....she'd likely not be able to retain her LPGA card.
Sharon must be another 'fake' Korean...she owns an iPhone...huh...isn't it sacrilege for a Korean to own a smartphone other than a Samsung?
Sharon's had a lot of work done, teeth, lips, face and bolt-ons. She better stop the plastic surgery.....it's affecting her speech...her face is so tight. If she doesn't stop she'll become a Korean Joan Rivers (RIP).
I never followed KLPGA until late last year when Q Baek won the tournament. The reason I root for Q Baek and So Yeon Ryu is they are my college alum.
Anyway thank you for answering my curiosity. Another note, Sharon always ranks highly on Korean portal site whether she does poorly or not due to her looks. And that's how I got acquainted with her name.
I will not try to recreate the long Shin Ae Ahn thread I started on the defunct message board...however, her NZ days are worth preserving...after all, if she's leading the USWO in a couple years, people will want to know where she came from!
First, here are a couple of documents with Sharon pix:
Sharon Ahn got a taste for golf as a 6-year-old, following her father to the driving range near their home in Kyunggido, South Korea.
She saw some good stuff too, because Anthony Ahn plays up to a three handicap. Now and then, maybe once a month, Sharon would swing a few clubs and even then people told her father she had talent.
"It was just my hobby then," says 14-year-old Ahn, of times before her family shifted to New Zealand when she was nine.
This was also when Sharon was Shinae, before her mother, Rosemary, gave her a new name in a new land. "She saw a girl called Sharon on TV and wanted me to have an English name," says Ahn shyly.
"I thought it was all right then. I’ll stick with Sharon ... people know me as Sharon. Sometimes I’d like to go back to Shinae but I’ve got no choice."
Golf is certainly no hobby for Sharon Ahn. And in a major role reversal, Anthony Ahn now follows his daughter’s every golf move, and oh so closely.
They are some moves. This month, the Northcote College fourth former slayed senior opposition when she won three from four to inspire a rare New Zealand victory over Australia, then claimed the national strokeplay title at Titirangi.
"Hey, so you’re the golf girl," fellow students called out.
Like others, they may wonder how this pretty girl with a lean although obviously strong frame can whip adults and blossom under the pressure of international contest.
And remember. At just 13, she led the strokeplay event going into the final round last year.
Ahn must have serious natural talent although when you’re 14, you don’t contemplate this.
She squirms and giggles a bit when asked about her golfing gifts.
"I hope I have some," she grimaces.
But ask her - or anyone who knows her game - about temperament, and she is 14 going on 41.
Ahn NEVER gets flustered.
"Golf is about mind control, how you manage yourself on the golf course," she says.
"For some people it takes ages, years and years, to learn that thing ... to control yourself, to calm yourself down when you don’t play well.
"As I got better, my mind control got better. But normally I’m quite calm about everything in life. Golf is mostly about you and your power."
Almost, girl. I can assure you - some people never learn "that thing".
The Herald interview is conducted at the Takapuna course driving range where Ahn trains with coach Bob McDonald.
Here, you’ll see every swing in the book - although probably not a coaching book. This duffers’ alley is exactly where Ahn’s golf career took hold. Anthony and Rosemary owned the course cafeteria for three years, and wee Sharon hit balls by the bucketload here. The cafe has been sold, but the family live next to the course, Sharon’s second home.
She practises two to three hours every Monday to Friday evening, six or more hours on Saturday, and three or so hours after church on Sunday.
Driving her on is Anthony Ahn - a constant presence in his only child’s burgeoning sports career. Mr Ahn is - you might say - an enthusiastic parent.
Insiders say he can be domineering, making demands that might cause rebellion in some kids.
"It would lead to grief with some kids but Sharon seems to thrive on it," says one observer. "She’s a lovely girl and never causes any trouble."
With her dad looking on, Sharon says: "The problem is, he gets more nervous than me. He thinks that’s how all parents think. But he’s getting better. He wants me to tell you that he’s always been with me, like my shadow."
Coach McDonald puts it this way.
"It’s his temperament, but he’s learning. If he could relax he would be fine, but he’s so nervous. I haven’t had any run-ins with him. But he’s just so keen for her to succeed.
"I just say to him ‘relax’, it will be all right. He tries to leap in with some coaching tips, but we ... "
Mr Ahn calls the shots, and Sharon plays them.
She has little time for the usual 14-year-old things. When she isn’t practising, her hobby is "chilling out at home forgetting about golf". Now and then, she goes to the movies "with my golf mates".
She adds: "I enjoy golf. I don’t love it. I’m not golf mad or anything."
The Ahns have applied for New Zealand citizenship, but Sharon is still deciding what flag she will play under as an adult.
"Korea is where I was born, New Zealand is where I’ve been growing and what I can remember. I’ve got to grow up and have a think about that question," says Sharon, while emphasising her appreciation for the great support New Zealand golf gives her.
As you might suspect, there is a master plan after her secondary school education is complete. Next stop, the US and a university golf scholarship. Then the American tour, where her idol Annika Sorenstam is a star.
As I wander away, I wonder what lies ahead for Sharon Ahn.
Will she be Sharon or Shinae, New Zealand or Korea, star or journeywoman, career golfer or not? And will the Takapuna driving range be just a fondly remembered stop along the way, or a place in a city she still calls home.
And will she be a Sorenstam-like star? The affable McDonald says she can.
"Not she will, but she can," he says.
"A ton of kids have the same talent but don’t achieve what she has. She has the mental attributes ... common sense and composure.
"It won’t be plain sailing. There will be ups and downs, but she knows that."
* Age 14
* Korean born, NZ residency
* NZ strokeplay champion
* In NZ senior team which beat Australia for Tasman Cup for the first time in a decade
Too bad Sharon didn't meet the Dragon Lady when she was in NZ.....
Incorrect...the video in the first post says the Ahn and Ko families played golf together. Shin Ae is six year & four months older than Lydia, so they wouldn't have played against each other as amateurs, and I'm 99% sure that they have never played in the same professional tournament. A cursory look at Twitter & Instagram doesn't show any communication between them, for whatever that's worth.
The range at Takapuna GC where dreams are made...operates 9 AM to 11 PM daily...it's built on an old landfill.
This thread makes me want to listen to Michael Jackson.
fanofseri You are too freakin funny. If I get my butt down to LA...you gotta give me strokes cause I'll be pee'ing my pants laughing the entire round...then we can go to one of your sh*thole bars for a few libations. We'll need to invite Phil...I need his help to book a fleabag motel.