Seldom does an eight-year-old girl choose golf as a favorite sport to play or even as a spectator sport. Yet Yvette Kio, now twelve, chose to do just that!
She was influenced by a friend, Richard, who helped her learn the basic skills on the driving range of a local golf course. Yvette enjoyed the game so much that she persuaded her parents to enroll her in The First Tee of Orange County (TFTOC). There, she was motivated, not only by the staff, but also by playing with kids her age.
Yvette’s mother, Kelly, also her biggest fan, has always told her not to worry but to stay positive. Before every game, her mother would say a prayer for the whole team.
Yvette has a lot of role models. Besides her mother and Richard, she lists her coach, James, TFTOC coaches, and LPGA player, Lexi Thompson. She was really excited to meet the LPGA players, including Lexi, at the 2017 ANA Inspiration Tournament.
In preparation for her golf game, the TFTOC, the coaches, and in particular Coach James, teach the players ‘mental preparation.’ “They want us to have positive thoughts in order to get the best results,” Yvette explained.
“ I prepare myself by making sure I practice as often as I can, get good rest, eat and hydrate well before play days and tournaments.” She further detailed that when the game begins, she looks at the distance which helps determine what club to use to tee off. As soon as she gets the ball on the green, she tries to read the front door of the hole and read the line to detect where her ball will go.
Often, friends ask Yvette why she took up golf instead of other sports like soccer or basketball. “The look on their faces is priceless, but after they think about it, they tell me it is awesome,” she laughed. Some people have told her that they think golf is for old people and they wonder why she likes it. One of her funniest memories relating to others’ ideas of golf, was when her friend said, “Yvette plays old people’s game. My grandpa plays golf, and I don’t even bother with that old people’s sport.”
Nevertheless, Yvette enjoys soccer and is enjoying her time on the school’s soccer team. She has also played for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).
When asked how she is performing in golf, her response is that she has no wins, YET! Because she plays in the PGA Junior League Summer tournaments, she is a member of a team. So far they have won several flags (i.e.holes) and matches. The PGA Junior League is nationwide and one of the largest junior tournament leagues.
Although Yvette enjoys golf, she doesn’t know if she wants it as a full-time career. Nursing is also an interest for her because she wants to save lives and work with babies. As for now, she sees herself playing golf until she retires (haha) but will embrace the sport if she is successful enough for it to be a career. “I will also make sure AW Magazine gets updated along my journey,” she replied.
Her future looks bright, and in discussing her goals for 2019, she explained that her desire is to work hard in school and to play a lot of golf – including junior tournaments. Today, her main goal is to make it on TFTOC PGAJR League team. She understands that tryouts are usually very competitive. Another future desire for Yvette is to play golf in Kenya. When thinking of Kenya she said, “Kenya is beautiful and blessed with beautiful friendly people. They will cook and feed you even when you are not hungry. I look forward to playing golf in Kenya one day.”
With her positive outlook and active lifestyle, it probably won’t be long before she is teeing off on one of the many beautiful golf greens in Kenya.