From marathoner to golf instructor…USGTF Outstanding Coach Byung Ha Lee

Taebaek, Gangwon-do, is home to Lim Hee-jung, a professional with one of the best swings on the KLPGA Tour. There is a sincere golfer who gives golf lessons here. The protagonist is Lee Byung-ha, 46, who runs the Ogwang Golf Zone Academy at the entrance to Taebaek Mountain and was named one of the top 10 coaches by the United States Golf Teaching Federation (USGTF) Korea at the end of last year.

The Taebaek native dreamed of becoming a national marathon runner to follow in the footsteps of Hwang Young-jo before turning to golf instruction. A former cycling athlete at Gyeongbuk Cheongo and Incheon Cheongo, the pro is a “Hero of Monjuik” who won a marathon gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. To follow in the footsteps of Hwang Young-jo, he transferred to Donggwang Agricultural Technical High School in Goseong, Gangwon Province, to pursue marathon running.

The pro’s dreams became more concrete when he met Hwang, who was a member of the Kolon Athletics Team at the time. Hwang, who hails from Samcheok, Gangwon Province, was also a cycling athlete before taking up marathon running. But it turns out that marathoning wasn’t his path. After suffering several knee injuries, he was forced to hang up his marathon shoes.

In 1996, while working part-time at a driving range in Taebaek ahead of his military enlistment, he picked up a golf club at the suggestion of the range’s head pro. In less than a year, he became a single-handicapper who consistently scored in the low 70s before enlisting in the army in February of the following year.

Despite his petite frame of 172 centimeters and 75 kilograms, his athletic lower body was the driving force behind his long game. After serving in the military, he enrolled in Kangwon National University of Tourism and Leisure Sports, where he practiced hard to become a KPGA Tour professional. However, after graduating from college, he had to give up golf due to difficult family circumstances. He spent the next 10 years in the corporate world, trying to stay away from golf.

However, the connection was not easy to break. In 2014, the professional, who earned a second-level golf certification as a life sports instructor while working, taught golf in elementary school after-school classes and middle school physical education classes as a way to donate his talent. After discussing with his wife (Kim Joo-mi) that he had a talent for teaching, he made a decision and quit his job.

He started teaching golf in earnest at an outdoor driving range with 20 holes. He studied the Rules of Golf, psychological counseling, sports massage, and other related fields, but he felt something was missing. He wanted to give more systematic and professional lessons, so he finally took the USGTF Pro Test in May 2019.

Her first challenge was rejection. I finished my lesson in Taebaek at 11 p.m. and drove three and a half hours to Fortune Hills Golf Course, where the test was held at dawn. With a nap in the car and no course information, it was no surprise that he failed the test. But the pro didn’t give up. Two months later, he passed the test at the same venue. He prepared for the test by arriving at the venue a day early and playing a practice round.

The first thing he emphasizes in his lessons is etiquette. Golf is a gentleman’s game, and while technique is important, he says it’s more about the mindset. Technically, he emphasizes the importance of the grip. “Everything that happens during the swing is affected by the grip in some way,” the pro says, “and a bad grip causes more than 90% of swings to be flawed.” The same goes for the finish. The same goes for the finish. “If you have a problem with your finish, don’t try to fix it, but look for what went wrong with the movements that preceded it,” the pro added. 스포츠토토

His most memorable student was a self-taught golfer. I once coached a golfer who normally hit 180 to 200 meters, and for a month I had him practice a swing that only went 150 meters. The results were very satisfying. His swing arc was bigger than when he was trying to hit the ball harder, and by swinging gently, he felt the weight of the head and improved his swing speed, becoming a long hitter of 220-240 meters.

Since 2020, the pro has served as a member of the Capital Region Competition Committee for two years and is also the head of the Northeast Region Competition Team. She is currently a member of the USGTF Gangwon Region Public Relations Committee. Since January of this year, Lim has been coaching golfers at Hwangji Elementary School, her alma mater. His dream is to coach golfers with the best golf skills and the best personality.

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