Golf: Mum's more than just a word for Inez Ng

Singapore golfer Inez Ng (left) and her mother Irene. PHOTO: SINGAPORE GOLF ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE - Literature about Mother's Day is wide and varied. But, in short, it is about honouring the mother of the family. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May.

So to applaud, acknowledge and acclaim mothers on one particular day is commendable, no doubt, but the mums deserve more recognition, beyond that one day, says golfer Inez Ng.

That is why the jovial Inez, one of the most talented players in the Singapore Golf Association's national squad, had not pencilled in one date (Sunday, May 9) as a special day but believes that her mother, Irene, is the sum of so many attributes: mum, buddy, friend, counsellor, motivator and consoler; and deserves celebration all year.

Whenever possible, Irene is there when Inez, 18, plays golf. The civil servant mum and her teacher-husband, Ng Choon Hean, were there last Tuesday (May 4) when Inez played in the FTAG-sponsored Singapore Pro-Series at Tanah Merah Country Club's Tampines course.

The parents were also present when she lost in a play-off to national teammate Shannon Tan in a local tournament at Warren Golf and Country Club some three years ago, and offered a shoulder in consolation.

And they were there on the final day of the 5th National Ranking Games at the Marina Bay Golf Course on Dec 16 when Inez claimed the title with a final-day score of four-under 68 that won her promotion from the Development Squad to the National Squad.

The Ngs have never been too concerned about the final outcomes of their daughter's performance, but believes that as long as the Singapore Sports School student gives of her best, they are satisfied.

In fact, they had introduced the game to the former Methodist Girls' School student when she was six, also taking up golf with her and their son Ignatius, now 24.

Along the way, the Ngs and Ignatius rarely played golf because it was time-consuming, but only after having travelled and played as a family on several trips abroad.

The plus-one handicap index golfer's rise to the top has been nothing short of phenomenal.

She trained at Warren Golf and Country Club mostly on weekends, and the remarkable improvement was evident after she was roped into the Development Squad and came under the glare of national coach Matt Ballard and High Performance Manager Joshua Ho, a former national team player.

The bubbly Inez, who has played in the World Team Championship in Dublin and in junior events in California, is a mature, independent and level-headed girl who knows what she wants.

"I am in the IB (international baccalaureate) programme, so I know the demands of study. I try to balance golf and studies, which leaves me with little time for anything else," she said.

"But I must say, my parents have been very supportive of all I do. They, especially mum, have seldom interfered in what I do, but have always encouraged me in my pursuits. After IB, I intend to go to the United States to further my studies at a college or university that offers golf as a sports curriculum.

"Maybe, in the long run, I may look at a professional golf career. I know that it is a tough and tedious route, and the demands are many. That is why I need a fallback with my studies, and a degree, to make out a working career."

Inez idolises New Zealander Lydia Ko as a role model for her great all-round game. The trim 1.67-metre tall Inez is happy with the length of her drives, to about 210m with carry.

But she believes that her short game and putting need refinement, and she is working on those areas with coach Ballard.

Last Tuesday at the Pro-Series, she bounced back from a 12-over 84 to register a 76 and improve to a creditable 15th out of 24 of Singapore's leading golfers. Mum Irene was pleased with her second-day showing, finishing in style with a birdie on the 514-m par-five 18th .

For the encouraging hug at the clubhouse, Inez bought a simple Mother's Day gift for Irene after coaxing brother Ignatius to pay for it from his National Service allowance.

"It's the gesture that matters," says Inez, for whom Mother's Day is to be celebrated year-round.

For Inez, mum's more than just a word.

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