The hottest player on the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour right now is “Jeju Man” Ko Gun-taek (24, Daebo Construction).
The former Korean National Team regular made his tour debut in 2020, and after going winless for three years until last year, he has emerged as one of the tour’s strongest players with three victories this season.
Two of the three victories came in overtime at the Honors K-Solago CC Hanjangsang Invitational in July and the Shinhan Donghae Open, which concluded on Tuesday. His first career victory, at the DB Insurance PromiOpen in April, was even more meaningful as it came against two of the top players of the day, Park Sang-hyun (40-Dong-A Pharmaceuticals) and Seo Yoseop (27-DB Insurance).
Judging by his dramatic victory, it’s clear that he has a tremendous competitive spirit that belies his unassuming appearance. But winning isn’t just about competitive drive, and there was another reason for his meteoric rise.
It was the so-called “family-style support” of his sponsor, Daebo Group (Chairman Choi Daewoo-kyu), and the Daebo Golf Team (Head Coach Lee Seok-ho). Ko signed a contract with the Daebo Golf Team, which was founded last year, and became a member of the Daebo family.
The group has a golf academy, driving range, and Park In-bee’s wedding hall at Seowon Valley GC, one of the 10 most prestigious courses in Korea, and Seowon Hills CC, which will host an LPGA Tour event in October. In addition, it hosts the KLPGA Tour’s Daebo House D Open.
In short, it has everything from the alpha to the omega of golf, but there was only one thing missing. The DaeBo Golf Team was born.
Initially, the idea was to form a golf team with popular female athletes, but President Choi Sung-kyu readily accepted the suggestion of midwife Lee Seok-ho, the founder of the golf team, that “it is more effective to have interest in men’s golf when there is no interest in women’s golf,” and a mixed-gender golf team was born.
“I saw Go Gun-taek set a course record of 10-under-par in the first round of the 2021 Genesis Championship, and it was very impressive, so I chose him,” Lee said.
“If he had won that tournament, he probably wouldn’t be with us. In retrospect, I think we were lucky that he didn’t win the championship,” he said with a laugh, adding, “He’s a very charming player. First of all, he’s nice and unpretentious. I never saw him get frustrated by repeated failures.”
Go Gun-taek has been the backbone of the Daebo Golf Team. He is the only player, male or female, to have won the championship since its inception.
In particular, his victory at the major Shinhan Donghae Open sent a strong message to the group’s employees. Go made a double bogey on the 13th hole (par-5) on the final day. However, he birdied the 14th and 15th holes in a row, and then birdied the 18th hole (par 5) to send the tournament into overtime.
“It’s the same in the business world. Even if there is a problem, rather than solving it at once, we believe that opportunities will come if we do not give up until the end like GoPro and work on it step by step.” “In that regard, GoPro’s victory is a great lesson for our group employees.”
It is no exaggeration to say that the winning process fully embodies Choi’s management philosophy of “sincerity, discipline, and cheerfulness from the fingertips.” The highlight was his 3-on strategy on the 72nd hole, the final 18th.
Ko hit his second shot to his favorite spot, a wedge within 100 meters of the hole, and then hit his third shot close to the hole as planned to secure the birdie.
“GoPro has set a good example for all of us,” said Lee Seok-ho, recalling the emotional moment, “It’s the chairman’s usual philosophy: ‘Don’t be conceited if you’re good, don’t be self-destructive if you’re not good,’ and that’s the message GoPro’s win gave us.”
Lee Seok-ho is not just the head of the sponsor, but also plays a mentoring role. First of all, he treats all the athletes like family. 안전놀이터 The same goes for their families. One of the things he emphasizes to his athletes is ‘be basic’.
In short, he is a father figure to all his players. He never pushes his athletes. He just sends them a text message before the competition saying, ‘Have fun and stay cool. And I make sure to cheer them on at the finals. If it’s close to home, I’ll cheer them on in between. I think the players appreciate that.
When I asked Lee about his plans for the golf organization in the future, he said, “We plan to focus on discovering and nurturing promising players rather than stars.” With a long-term perspective, he plans to build a team centered on dreamers (including amateurs).
“Go Gun-taek’s victory was a tremendous motivation for the juniors who are playing golf at our academy,” Lee said, adding, “I think it is a great reward to make the juniors hope that they can join the Daebo Golf team if they work hard.”