Athlete of the Month: Irene Park

Since the age of seven, Diamond Bar High School senior Irene Park has immersed herself in golf and managed to accomplish a great deal over the past decade. 

After reflecting on her relatively successful career, Park attributes the beginning of her fascination with golf to her grandmother, who helped in teaching her how to play.

“Basically everyone on my dad’s side played golf so I got a lot of exposure that way,” Park said via Instagram. “My grandma also helped teach me and her passion for the sport really spoke to me.”

Throughout her golf career, Park has faced many motivational issues when faced with the unsatisfying results of a bad showing. The inconsistencies in her performance would greatly impact her mental health, and her passion for the sport would waver.

“Golf’s filled with ups and downs, and I think I, in particular, had a rough time dealing with those hiccups in the road,” she said. “I would fall into slumps and I really struggled with the idea of quitting or at least taking a break.”

Another obstacle Park faced was how time-consuming the sport is, and the amount of commitment needed from her and her parents. 

Whenever there would be a test the following day or a lot of homework, Park would work late into the night to study or complete work so she could still have time to practice.

“It took my parents and I a lot of dedication to keep playing golf,” Par said.” I was never really pressured into playing it but I found that I had to learn how to manage my time a lot better if I wanted to healthily balance competition with school.”

Nonetheless, Park has still managed to accomplish a lot in her 10 year tenure of competing in the sport. Some of her notable achievements include: placing second in an American Junior Golf Association tournament in middle school, placing second in a Toyota Tour Cup her freshman year and a second place finish in the placements for CIF individuals her junior year.

Large amounts of time and effort were put into garnering these results, with Park preparing for  these events a month prior to the actual tournament. 

Her routine consisted of hitting at the driving range daily while also making sure to practice with her coaches. Once she got to the venue, Park would scout out the area and play a practice round of golf on the green. Despite her seemingly unwavering determination to succeed in golf and her sizable list of accomplishments, Park’s future doesn’t have room to go pro or coach the sport. 

Instead, her focus has shifted more towards academics and competing less in the future.

“I just want to say thank you to my parents and coaches for always being so supportive throughout my four years of highschool golf,” Park said. “Thanks to them, I’ve never felt pressured to play the sport and I’ve been able to enjoy my time competing in all of these tournaments.”