DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke women's golf team returns to action at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C., March 29-31. Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior Stacey Kim to learn more about the Columbus, Ga., native.
GoDuke.com: What has been your proudest moment at Duke?
Stacey Kim: When our team made it to nationals last year with four girls playing. That was a really special moment for us, because the year before we didn’t make it. When you have four players and all four scores count, you are under a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility to carry the team, and to get Duke up there. It was incredible. After the first two days, we were in a good place. After the third day, we knew we made it and it was just a really cool moment; because we didn’t let the fact that one our players got injured in the first round bring us down in any way. That was just a really cool moment for me, my team, and for our coaches. That was probably one of the most proud moments I have had.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite part about being a Duke student-athlete?
SK: Every time I go home, everyone is like that’s great. Duke is just an incredible institution as far as academics and athletics go. Duke is known for having great athletics. You have the basketball team, lacrosse, and soccer. This place just has it all in the high, elite way. The greatest part is the fact that our community, our Duke student-athlete community is really close.
GoDuke.com: What is the most misunderstood thing about your sport?
SK: That it may not be as physically rigorous as some other sports. We are not running but I think that the difficulty of it is the mental game. The mental aspect of golf is very tough to keep yourself up. You have to control your emotions. You have to know yourself very, very, very well in order to play well. I think that is a big thing about golf that people misunderstand. All they think about is getting on a cart, having fun, and playing, but competition golf is very rigorous mentally.
GoDuke.com: Can you tell me about a time when you first started playing your sport.
SK: I remember the moments that I first started. I have two older sisters and we all played. I was six, my middle sister was 10 and my oldest sister was 12. I remember just the three of us spending a lot of time on the golf course. We were always on the range hitting balls. We would have bets and little competitions with each other. It was a good bonding time.
GoDuke.com: As a child, did you have a favorite food?
SK: I pretty much ate everything. I loved fruit when I was little, I still do, but I would eat bowls and bowls of fruit all the time. Once I got really sick on mangos, so I guess that would be my favorite food.
GoDuke.com: As a child, what did you want to be growing up?
SK: I was in gymnastics when I was very little and I told my parents I wanted to be a gymnastics coach. With golf, when I started, I said I wanted to go professional with golf. So I guess that was my aspiration for a very long time. There was a part of me that saw the importance in academics and the importance of what I could give back. Now, I am in a transition where I do not know whether to continue with golf or if I want to go in a different direction with academics and education. It has always been a process, as far as my childhood aspirations go, and I have always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing.
GoDuke.com: Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
SK: My dad. He grew up in very hard times. He had to pretty much grow up by the time he was at least 12. When you’re forced to be an adult at that age, I think he’s gone through a lot and he’s molded and influenced the way my sisters and I are. His values are pretty much instilled in us as well; just working hard. He’s a very hard worker, but he’s very humble with what he has. I would also like to point out that my mom has been a very big influence too because they’ve worked together to raise us.
GoDuke.com: Is there any specific golfer that influenced you? Maybe a professional golfer you looked up to when you were younger?
SK: Se-Ri Pak. She was like the pioneer for women’s golf in South Korea. She influenced the entire country pretty much, but I remember she was the reason I wanted to become better and better at golf. Just hearing her stories, hearing how her work ethic, her determination has gotten her to where she is. To be recognized as a very talented competitor, especially from a country that is so small. She was so young, and I’m also Korean so it was cool to see someone of my ethnicity to be able to get to that level.