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Lydia Ko Growing Up in New Zealand

Updated on September 24, 2017
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Lydia Ko


Lydia Grew Up In New Zealand

Lydia has accomplished a lot in her young life. She grew up north of the city of Auckland. As the years progressed she kept winning amateur events and became the number one amateur in the world. My wife and I came to New Zealand in 2006 and didn't know anything about Lydia. We liked golf and the culture here so we settled here and joined the Gulf Harbour CC in the town of Gulf Harbour, NZ about 45 min north of Auckland.

She started golf at the age of 5 under the coaching of Guy Wilson.

Golf coach Guy Wilson and Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko and coach Guy Wilson
Lydia Ko and coach Guy Wilson | Source

Lydia practiced at the Gulf Harbour Country Club Golf Course, a world class golf course ranked #9 in New Zealand, where the members and visitors got to know her and her family fairly well.

Gulf Harbour CC, New Zealand
Gulf Harbour CC, New Zealand | Source

Gulf Harbour Golf Club on the Whangaparoa Peninsula Held a Reception for Her

When Lydia began playing LPGA events as an amateur, Gulf Harbour Golf Club had a reception for her and all wished her well.

I talked at length with Lydia and her coach Guy Wilson and told them the well known story on how the great Jack Grout (who coached the young Jack Nicklaus) didn’t agree with people regarding him the greatest coach in golf since because he coached Jack Nicklaus.

Grout would reply, "Well I told Jack to hit a draw, and he did it perfectly. When I told him to hit a fade, or a straight shot, again, he did it all perfectly. I didn’t feel I was Jack’s coach, I just shared what I knew and Jack just simply did it effortlessly."

Guy Wilson laughed and said he could relate to that. Lydia laughed too and impressed me as being very relaxed and very laid back. She knew she was a very good golfer but that's just the way she was and didn't think her talent was anything overly special.

Golf Coach Jack Grout and young Jack Nicklaus


New Zealand Culture Is An Everyman Society

I was amazed how respectful people in New Zealand are to each other no matter who they are. Kiwi golf commentator, Frank Nobilo, can attest to this. The NZ "Every Man" culture means the bathroom cleaners at the Gulf Harbour CC, get the same respect as the NZ Prime Minister.

One American visitor commented, "I've seen men actually take off their hats and smile when lady golfers pass by at Gulf Harbour. I think I've went back in time!"

Kiwi Peter Jackson and Tom Cruise


Kiwis Understand and Respect Privacy

Kiwi’s don't annoy celebrities - they simply understand people like their privacy and show respect for that.

For example, an American told me he and his wife were in Wellington, New Zealand at the Portofinos Restaurant on the waterfront. "Two tables away from us sat Peter Jackson and Tom Cruise (probably discussing movie work) but no one bothered them - no one sought autographs, took photos, selfies, etc. Amazing."

"We asked the waitress about them. She whispered, 'They're having a conversation. Everyone else is having their own conversation?'"


It Is What It Is

As anyone gets to be more well known in the world, privacy gets scarce. Richard Gere in his heyday was so well known he decided to take a retreat to a remote part of India and had to travel through the jungle and bush to a very remote getaway.

Upon finally arriving after a long three hour trip to the getaway, he was greeted by excited natives who kept yelling, "Officer and a Gentleman! Officer and a Gentleman!"


© 2015 Team Golfwell


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