Amelia Yong is one of Singapore’s top female golfers. At the tender age of 16, she made history as the first Singaporean to compete in an LPGA event. Amelia has represented Singapore at major amateur tournaments worldwide, and was one of only 2 female golfers in Singapore to turn pro in 2016.
Freeboh caught up with Amelia to find out more about what drives her, and the challenges and sacrifices she has faced to chase her dream.
Has playing golf always been your dream? What was it that ignited your passion for golfing?
My dream as a kid was to be involved with things art-related, namely to be a tattooist (which obviously hasn’t/didn’t happen yet). Golf started as an excuse to avoid school work but gradually became my passion, so I can say it was, and still is, my dream to play on the world stage. I guess it was more of a situation where the game grew on me as the years went by. With that said, the fire to turn professional really ignited when I qualified for the HSBC Women’s Champions. I’d say this was my debut as a golfer, and it jumpstarted my journey as a national golfer.
How did you feel when you became the first Singaporean to compete in an LPGA event?
When I found out during the qualifiers, it initially didn’t have much of an impact to me – a 16-year-old me was trying to figure out what to say in front of cameras and voice recorders. Besides, it was my first ever qualifier for such a major event, so I was mostly guessing and feeling my way around. But I was pretty composed, I think!
It must have been tough trying to juggle a golfing career, school, and life in general. What were the biggest challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
My days were full – school in the morning, quick lunch (no tea time for me!) and off to the golf course. It was tough, but I enjoyed it thoroughly – it’s the life I want to lead. I obviously didn’t have much time to socialize and hang out with friends, but it was alright. My biggest challenge was attempting to get my homework done – I’d doze off watching The Mentalist on TV, so school work was obviously tougher.
Golf can be a pretty expensive passion, what with buying equipment and getting training. How did you fund this dream?
I am lucky to have the support from my parents, the Singapore Golf Association and brands that offered me sponsorship. Currently it’s more difficult as I am not under the association anymore, so I have to work and save to fund myself and play tournaments. I’m currently working on contract to give myself the flexibility I need.
You also design mandalas, will that be something you plan to pursue as well?
Arts has always been something I am very interested in. At the crossroads when I was 16, I had to decide whether to go to art school or continue my path to golf. As both of my passions require time, it was a tough decision but golf has taught me many things. I still do want to pursue my passion for arts – starting with the mandalas.
Would you say that you’re now living the dream? What’s your ultimate goal in your golfing career?
I don’t think I’ve quite reached ‘my dream’ yet. But I’m well on the way there. It won’t be easy, I may not even get the chance to do it, but I’ll definitely give it a go. The ultimate goal in my golfing career is qualifying for the LPGA. It’s a long process that requires hours of hard work, focus and commitment. Golf being a financially taxing sport makes it that much harder!
What advice would you give to someone who is also chasing their dreams while juggling other commitments?
Don’t give up on that dream. You’ll want to look back and not regret it – because what is life if you don’t take a chance and give it a shot?
To the dreamers out there, the world is yours for the taking if you work for it. Haven’t found your calling yet? Try doing something new, and you might surprise yourself! Whatever your dreams may be, we can help you work towards it. Find a job that fits your life with Freeboh today!