She is the star of the Chapel Hill High School girl’s golf team — and it’s certainly not just because she is the only player. The 14-year-old is the number one player for North Carolina’s junior women and is ranked 51st in the country by the American Junior Golf Association.
Gina Kim, who has played golf since she was 6, is now a freshman representing CHHS in women’s golf tournaments.
“Well to be honest, I don’t think anybody would have expected me to play golf either,” Gina Kim said. “I thought it wasn’t for girls until my dad took me to the driving range and handed me a club,” Gina said. “I was like, ‘What do you want me to do with this?’”
Years later, Gina is still in love with the sport.
“I absolutely love the competition that comes with it,” she said. “It keeps me on my toes.”
Hosun Kim, Gina’s father, said he found his daughter’s competitive nature surprising.
“She is a very sweet, polite girl,” he said. “Not aggressive.”
When Gina Kim was 8 years old, her father said the competition was not about beating others, it was about attaining her own goals.
Gina recently traveled to France to compete in the Evian Championship Juniors Cup as a member of team USA. It was her first international trip for golf and the United States won.
“I would definitely love to go to Japan or another place in Europe,” Gina Kim said.
And while it is difficult to balance golf and school, Gina Kim said some of her favorite subjects are biology and Spanish.
“I’d like to get into a good college through the sport and I hope I can make it to the (Professional Golf Association) tour someday,” she said.
It’s a goal she and her father, who is a professor at UNC, have in common.
“I hope Gina receives a good education and the golfing is a learning process,” Hosun Kim said. “Her passion and love for golf is the most important factor to make her successful.”
Gina Kim said the support she has received from her family has helped her along the way.
“They’ve been a huge part of my golfing career,” she said.
Gina Kim’s coach, Jim Williams, agreed it is her personal drive that makes her an exceptional golfer.
“She has no fear,” Williams said. “She isn’t afraid to set very high goals for herself.”
Williams said Gina Kim is very strong in all areas of the sport, but the precision of her short game is exceptional.
“To have a player with that amount of talent is very rewarding as a coach,” Williams said. “Especially in a sport that is so individually oriented — you have to have that desire to improve.”
“She has the potential to play at the highest level.”