They were beneficiaries of the Youth Golf Programme (YGP), going on to become SEA Games medallists before stepping up to the professional ranks.
However, Johnson Poh and Koh Sock Hwee have not forgotten their roots. They have pledged to give back to the initiative that played such a pivotal role in their early careers.
The pair, along with fellow alumni and ex-national golfers Kok Jo Ee and Joey Poh, will assist the YGP in several charity projects next year to help grow the game in Singapore.
Said Johnson Poh, 24, who will compete in the Asian Tour's qualifying school in January to fulfil his dream of playing full-time on the circuit: "I wouldn't be here today without the support of the YGP.
"Besides giving me access to play at clubs, it also provided me with gym and mental training."
The three years spent in the YGP were among her most rewarding, added Koh, 26.
She leaves today for Stage 2 of qualifying school for the LPGA Tour in Florida, hoping to become the first Singaporean woman to earn a full card on the United States-based tour.
"We've been very fortunate to be part of the YGP and it is only natural for us to want to give back and get more kids to play golf," noted Koh.
The YGP, brainchild of the late Tay Cheng Khoon, former sports editor of The Straits Times, has benefited close to 5,000 students since its inception in 1997.
The project, whose patron is Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck, aims to introduce golf to youngsters who do not have the means to be a member of a golf club, but have a keen interest to learn the game.
It organised its 20th Community Youth Golf Charity - its second this year - yesterday at the Singapore Island Country Club's Island Course and raised a total of $300,000.
The fresh funds will help cover the costs of professional training for the students and the organisation of the YGP Inter-School League, an annual four-leg competition involving the scheme's 10 member schools.
Its chairman, Dr Janice Khoo, paid tribute to the host of sponsors who have stepped forward, including Laguna National, MST Golf, iVilla and Osim.
She said: "It's very encouraging to see such support and also to have our alumni come back and, despite their busy schedules, offer their time to work with the welfare homes for underprivileged children whom we are hoping to partner from next year."
This article was first published on Oct 9, 2015.
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