“Frustrating”, “tiring” and “hard work” are just a few of the adjectives Yuka Murakami uses to describe her sport. It might sound like the 15-year-old golf star from Yew Chung International School doesn’t enjoy her time on the course, but nothing could be further from the truth. For Yuka, the highest moments in golf are made more enjoyable because of the difficulty of the sport.
“Of course winning is one of the best things, working hard every day, using all the energy left in you and receiving an award is truly a great feeling,” she says. “Golf can be frustrating, tiring and very hard but it is still truly amazing.”
Yuka started playing golf with her father when she was just six years old. “He had to start playing golf when he joined a new company,” she explains. “At first he asked me to just have fun and have a new experience. He never thought I would go this far. And this is when my mother comes in, she wanted me to continue and excel in this sport, she thought it would be good for my school, university and future career.”
Yuka surprised both of her parents with her passion for the sport, and when they moved to Hong Kong from Japan when she was 10, she took her game to the next level. In 2012, Yuka joined the Hong Kong National team. “My dream goal would of course be to become a professional golfer, LPGA but getting there would mean a lot of hard work and talent,” she says. “But then again, this is my ultimate goal in golf.”
Despite Yuka’s success, she still finds golf a difficult sport to master. “Golf is very challenging,” she says. “Tiny mistakes can ruin your entire swing, and the result. Every day, my swing changes and it is very frustrating when I practise really hard and there is no outcome whatsoever.”
But just like in a good swing, there are highs and lows. “My greatest personal achievement in golf would definitely be the three holes-in-one I had in a period of five months,” she says. “Even some professional golfers have never had a single one. To get a hole-in-one, you don’t only need luck but you also need the skills and everyday performances. And I believe that luck comes from hard work. Without hard work, my luck would not have come.”
What song / movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
The song On My Mind by Ellie Goulding, because golf is really something I take really seriously. It is always on my mind, like when I’m thinking about my swing, or how I could have improved my last shot. Golf is always on my mind as this is what I do and care so much about.
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
To sense all the things I’m doing wrong in my swing and have the power to change it accordingly. As this is a limited super power, I’d still be able to remember my understand what has changed and gone wrong which I can then work on it without struggling to spot the mistakes. As in golf, our swing changes almost everyday and different things starts to change and mess up the outcome, so it is very important to realise what is causing it.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Motivation to not give up and stay positive. Since golf can really frustrate you both mentally and physically, it can sometimes be really hard not to think about giving up. If I didn’t feel like this and is positive, I wouldn’t have mental breakdowns like I do sometimes when I still can’t get my swing right even after a lot of hard work.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign-on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Nike, as all the top golfers right now like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are sponsored by Nike. In golf, if you are signed on as a spokesperson, you get all the gear including caps, shirts and shoes, which would be great.