Since winning the 2015 US Kids Teen World Golf Championships, the profile of 15-year-old Georgia Oboh continues to swell. However, the student of golf academy in Manchester, United Kingdom (U.K.) believes she hopes to use her rising profile in the sport to popularise and encourage young people to embrace golf in Nigeria and Africa. Apart from spreading the gospel of golf in the continent, Oboh is targeting the pinnacle of the sport globally.
The passion for golf by Georgia Oboh was fanned by her parents more than a decade ago and today, she is getting stronger in the sport to become the youngest, first black girl or woman of African origin to be ever invited to participate or compete either as an amateur or professional in the Ladies Professional Golfers Association of America (LPGA) tournament in Bahamas.
However, a determined and focused Oboh is undaunted by her inability to pick one of the two slots in the qualifiers of the 2017 Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.
“My passion is unfazed and unwavering, my ability to play golf is a gift from God and as I have grown older my passion has grown stronger. My family have given me all the support I need and my only limitation is myself. So I dream big and pray that God sees me through,” she said.
Oboh could not stop talking about the enormous input her parents have made on her rise in the sport.
“My parents have made huge sacrifices for me and I appreciate them for what they have done and what they plan to do. (My father works in Nigeria while my mother and my siblings are overseas, just to put money on the table. When he leaves for my tournaments which are every few months for several weeks, he does not make any money while away. At times, we get financial support from family and friends to pay for my golfing expenses as there are extensive and expensive.
“My parents motivated me to play golf, and my father was the frontline and sideline coach encouraging me to do my best. While my mother, made sure I had balance in my life, so that I could pursue my interests. They are also both my mental coaches, so if I’m ever down which happens, they always make sure I get a huge lift, sometimes harsh and sometimes soft.
“In my beginning years, my competitive playing opportunities were to some extent ‘limited’, which is why my family and I have travelled thousands of miles just to compete,” she said.
In her bid to toe the feat achieved by South Korea’s Se Ri Pak, whose efforts have encouraged more Asians to embrace the sport, Oboh said: “South Korea’s Se Ri Pak, has inspired me as a young female golfer to dream big and aim high. Lorena Ochoa, an inductee for the Class of 2017 at the World Golf Hall of Fame. She enjoyed a very successful career winning several majors; at the height of her career, she became the number one female professional golfer.
“I believe that God will guide me all the way to the top (the number one female professional golfer in the world), playing the best golf of my life and doing what I do best,” Oboh enthused.
Unsatisfied with what she has achieved as a teenager, she said: “To be honest, when I play I’m only thinking about doing the best I can do, I leave whether I ultimately win or lose to God; because he knows what’s best for me and he will never lead me astray. Apart from golf, I don’t play other sports because golf takes up a lot of my time and I love golf.
On her personal target, she said: “To be the best at my ‘craft’ and grow the game of golf in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Se Ri Pak, whom I admire so much did that for her country- South Korea and I hope to do the same not only for Nigeria but Africa, by the Grace of God.”
On what she has gotten from golf, Oboh said: “Golf has taught me many life lessons which I consistently apply day-to-day. It has helped me in my school work to organise my schedule and also helps me in relating to people as I am normally shy but golf encourages social interaction a lot.
“To begin with the lifestyle, with golf I have to be organised and disciplined travelling frequently, I have to adjust my body to different climates and time zones. I am very conscious about my health, as an athlete my body must be in top shape so I can perform to my best abilities. Golf requires you to be focused, creative and intelligent which are great skills that I will rely on in future. Overall, golf is an amazing sport and I encourage anyone to begin playing,” she explained.
On her Olympic Games dream, she said: “Of course, the idea of competing at the Olympic Games had come to mind when golf was introduced in the Olympics last year in Brazil. I am working hard on my game so that I can be ready when the time comes by God’s grace. With the next Olympic Games only three years away, I have my work cut out for me, but by the grace of God I will be in attendance at Tokyo 2020.”
Relishing her feat in 2015, she said: “When I won the US Kids Teen World Golf Championships 2015 (Girls 14), it was a very important milestone in my career. Winning that event, proved to people that I was serious about my golfing career, it also proved to myself that I was on the right track.”
However, there were moments she would not want to remember in her career. “I’m not sure I have had bad moment but if I must say anything, it would be the financial aspect. Sometimes not knowing if we will raise enough funds to attend a competition and it gets me down but I focus on God and believe if He wants me to attend an event, He will send helpers to us.
“An example was when I missed playing in the R & A Junior Championships last year in July 2016 because that was my last year to be eligible because by the next time the event comes, I will not be eligible due to my age. So those have been some tense moments for me as I love to compete.”
On how she combines sports with education, she admitted, “Well I’m homeschooled because my parents have managed to make a plan that allows for me to spend enough time on golf and my studies. It is not easy to combine the two. I have had to be extremely organised and plan my work so that I have enough time for both.
“I love to read, watch action movies and listening to music. I love to write and have written many pieces which I hope to publish in the near future, I have always written fiction and love to write really,” she said.
On when she hopes to turn professional, she added: “I hope to turn professional within the next 18 months and God’s willing before the year is up. 2017 will most likely be my last year as an amateur as I am playing elite amateur golf. I am planning to take my golf game to a world class level. I would love to start my apprenticeship in the professional game but it requires a lot of support so I am on the look-out for potential sponsors as the game costs a great deal in travel, equipment among others.”
Source: The Nation