17-year-old Kim Min-sol’s determination to ‘hit hard’
“If I can handle the variables well, I can win
Focus on strengthening short game and course strategy
Became the domestic rookie champion and went to the U.S. at 23″

Kim Min-sol, who is competing in the individual competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kick off next month on March 23, hits a wedge shot while wearing his national team jersey at Suwon Country Club in Yongin, South Korea. Kim, who has a maximum drive distance of 300 meters, is focusing on short game training around the green as he aims to win gold at the Asian Games.

“I don’t think I have any competition when it comes to bringing home a gold medal.” Kim Min-sol (17, Dusan E&C) said, confident of winning the individual event at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kick off next month on Aug. 23. Kim, a second-year student at Suseong High School of Broadcasting and Communication, is still an amateur, but he earned the taekwondo mark by placing first in the national team trials. “I think I can achieve my goal (of winning an Asian Games gold medal) if I focus on my game while thinking about the variables such as rain and wind,” Kim added.

Kim’s biggest weapon is her long blow, which she uses to her advantage at 5-foot-9. Kim averaged a driver distance of 262 yards (about 240 meters) at the 37th Korea Women’s Open, which concluded on June 18. Her average was just three yards shy of the tournament record (265 yards) held by Bang Shin-sil (19-KB Financial Group), who is considered the longest hitter in the history of the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour. Kim also hit a 335-yarder (about 306 meters) on the 16th hole in the second round of the tournament.

“I think having a lot of distance gives me an advantage on the course, so I’m going to continue to improve,” said Kim, who was recently interviewed at Suwon Country Club in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. “Having a strong lower body minimizes the amount of power lost when swinging. I’m working on strengthening my lower body muscles through squats and running.”

Of course, long-hitting power is not enough to win an Asian Games gold medal. “I wasn’t confident with my bunker shots from 40 meters, so I spent 30 percent of my winter training before the season working on this,” said Kim. “I feel confident, but I will continue to work on my short game around the green.” Kim is particularly focused on her short game around the green because her third shot on par-5s is often around the green.

Kim finished tied for fourth (and first amateur) in the 121-player field at the Korean Women’s Open, but she was more disappointed. “At the Korea Women’s Open, I realized that I still lacked the ability to grasp the course,” she said. “Especially on the short par-4 holes, I had to tee off with a utility or wood, but I was still inexperienced and made mistakes such as grabbing the driver unconditionally. Based on my experience at the Korea Women’s Open, I’m thinking a lot about how to approach the course.”

Kim will turn 18 next year and will be eligible to play on the KLPGA Tour starting in 2025 if she passes the KLPGA Tour’s full member selection and seeding. “Personally, I think I like the environment with the galleries better. I want to make my debut on the first tour as soon as possible because I feel ‘sluggish’ when I go to amateur tournaments after finishing the first tour,” she laughed.

One of the tournaments he hopes to win on his debut is the MediHill Championship. Kim participated in this year’s event as an invitee, but finished tied for 60th place. “I’m not satisfied with my scorecard,” she said, “and I want to win the Rookie of the Year title, which I can only win once in my life.”

Her next goal after the KLPGA Rookie of the Year award is to make her debut on the Ladies Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour. Kim already had a taste of the LPGA when she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in May last year and then participated in the BMW Ladies Championship as a recommended player five months later. She finished tied for 10th at the BMW Ladies Championship.

“Before the U.S. Women’s Open, I thought the LPGA Tour was very high, but when I experienced it, I thought it was cool to play with world-class players, so I developed a dream of the U.S. stage,” Kim said. “I will spend not too much time on the domestic tour, not too little time, 고스톱 and I will reach the U.S. stage at the age of 23.”