By Thanh Nga
Despite a late start to the sport, Tăng Thị Nhung went on to become Việt Nam’s first-ever professional golfer. Now, after retiring from the competition, she is determined to use her position to encourage others to take up the sport.
“I came to golf quite late, starting when I was 23 years old. That was the most difficult thing, but I always encouraged myself to try my best to overcome all barriers,” said Nhung.
Nhung was Việt Nam’s first female professional golfer and is now one of the famous golf instructors in HCM City. She has helped many young golfers into the sport.
Unlike most other professional golfers, who started playing when they were four or five years old, Nhung started much later. She was drawn to golf because she had free time she wanted to fill with a new hobby.
In 2002, Nhung moved to Thailand with her family. In an unfamiliar land, she didn’t know what to do. Next to her house was a beautiful golf course, where she decided to give golf a go.
At that time, Nhung faced many difficulties in keeping up. Fortunately, she met very enthusiastic Australian and Thai coaches who discovered the talent of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province-native golfer. They were also the first to encourage Nhung to become a professional golfer.
In 2007, Nhung decided to move to Australia to improve her golf skills. Under the guidance of an Australian golf coach, she became more and more confident in her performance. Despite many difficulties in her career, Nhung constantly tried her hardest and achieved many successes in international events.
Only one year after turning professional, Nhung won the Phoenix Open 2008 in the USA. She then went on to defend her championship the following year.
“In those tournaments, my opponents were American and Canadian golfers. They were extremely tall and strong, but in the end, I was still the winner and that gave me a lot of confidence. I also realised that I didn’t have to tee too far to win, it took a good plan and strategy to win and achieve the set goals,” said Nhung.
Although Nhung had two victories in the US, most of the time she plays in Thailand, the country with the most developed professional golf industry in Southeast Asia. In 2013, she finished second at the Singha-Sat Thai LPGA Championship. Her favourite memory of playing in Thailand was at the Siam Country Club during the Thailand Ladies Open in November 2013.
Nhung also actively participated in the activities of the Ladies Asian Golf Tour as an official member. In 2014, Nhung returned to Việt Nam to join the Hà Nội golf team competing at the National Sports Games. She won Hà Nội two gold medals in the individual and team events.
However, Nhung decided to retire from competitive golf in 2015, becoming a coach to pass on her experience to younger players.
In June 2016, Nhung received a USGTF professional golf teaching certificate from the United States and returned to Việt Nam to take on the role of golf trainer.
Nhung said she dreams that Việt Nam will have many professional golfers competing in major tournaments around the world, and she chose Vũng Tàu City as her starting point.
After returning to Việt Nam in 2017, Nhung met the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Golf Association to present her plan to develop golf for children and propose the establishment of classes for potential golfers.
With the support of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Golf Association, at the end of 2017, golf training courses for children officially opened. Initially, there were only 10 learners, but over the four years since the number of learners has continuously increased.
“I am very passionate about youth golf, so I want to use my experience and knowledge to develop golf among youngsters,” said Nhung.
Nhung has been officially appointed as a coach at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, a golf course on the southern coast of Việt Nam. With her professional playing experience, Nhung gives her learners useful lessons in technique and gameplay.
Việt Nam’s professional golf is taking the first steps in the process of integration with international friends. In recent years, professional-level tournaments have been held more often, creating opportunities to improve the level of golfers.
According to Nhung, women’s golf in the world has made great strides in recent years and she believes that soon, Việt Nam will also have many good professional female golfers. VNS