Anybody who was present for Louie Goh’s show-and-tell in front of his schoolmates in Surrey will testify that he is no ordinary six-year-old.
Whereas most children would take in a pet or their favourite toy, Louie wowed his friends with his winner’s trophy from golf’s IMG Academy Junior World Championships.
As England’s first ever winner, his name is now listed alongside previous age-group champions such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jason Day and Tony Finau.
Louie was given a week off school to attend July’s competition in San Diego, California. He brought the trophy home with his Beanie Bear, Frank, after a two-under-par victory in a field of 23.
‘As soon as he found out he won, the first thing he did was go over to the putting green to do some more putting!’ his dad, Martyn, who works in advertising in London, tells Mail Sport.
Louie Goh is England’s first ever winner at the IMG Academy Junior World Championships
‘It was such an amazing experience. We were thinking a top-10 finish would be great because of the calibre out there. These are the best kids in the world and they invest a lot of time and money into training, especially from the Asian countries. They’ve dominated the leaderboard over the last 10 years or so. I looked at the list of all the previous winners. He’s the first boy from the UK. It was quite a feat.’
Louie was given his first set of plastic clubs at just 18 months old. He went along with his older brother, Leo, to watch their dad at the local club and they caught the golfing bug.
Selected for the world championships after thriving on the British Junior Golf Tour, the family combined the Stateside tournament with a trip to Hollywood. It was Louie’s first time competing on international fairways, showing a temperament beyond his years as he adapted to foreign conditions.
‘We knew he was good but he had never played on an international platform like that,’ says his mum, Nicola, who works in a school. ‘It was very hot, in the high 30s. We had a heat weather warning on the second day so there were all these different challenges that we’re not used to here in England. Obviously the greens are very quick in America so he had to adapt, and he did.
‘It was lovely to see his temperament. Each night we went to bed and he was at the top of the leaderboard.’
The six-year-old sensation shows off his winning scorecard alongside his proud dad Martyn
A little person producing big shots, Louie plays off a handicap of 25 and has a drive of 150 yards. He is a member of Woodcote Park Golf Club in Surrey and his hobby is all funded by his family, although he was awarded a Motocaddy golf bag and trolley after his victory in the States.
‘I’m his caddy!’ says Martyn. ‘I keep notes on how far he hits it but it’s changing constantly. We’ll be on a par three and he’ll say it’s definitely an eight iron. He’s getting a lot stronger and he’ll end up smashing it over the back of the green.
‘If he has a bad shot he’ll just do a great recovery shot. He never gets angry. He’s relaxed, smiling, having fun but he’s also very focused. You can see his concentration on the course, thinking about club selection and his approach to the greens.
‘He hits very straight and he shoots a long way but obviously he’s half the size of an adult. Anything after that drive, he’s just like an adult. His short game is as good as any single-figure handicapper.’
The family are Crystal Palace fans and Louie also plays football, tennis and swims. But golf is his first love and at his school’s ‘aspiration week’ he told teachers that he dreams of becoming a golfer when he grows up.
‘All I want to do is golf!’ adds Louie. ‘Sometimes I can’t because dad’s working. We’ve got a putting green in the TV room. My favourite club is the putter.’
Louie is now listed alongside previous age-group champions such as golf legend Tiger Woods
As his trophy haul grows bigger and bigger, his parents are keen to keep things in perspective. Homework comes first and he continues to live the life of an ordinary six-year-old, watching Harry Potter with his brother and enjoying trips to their local adventure park.
‘School always takes priority,’ says Martyn. ‘You play golf after you’ve done your homework. We’re lucky we’ve got a few practice facilities within 10 minutes. Even if it’s popping down to the putting green for 45 minutes until it’s dark, then he’ll end up crying when we have to leave!
‘We just want to make sure he has fun. There are so many variables to becoming a professional. As long as he enjoys it we’ll keep supporting him as best we can.’
Read more about the British Junior Golf Tour at www.juniorgolftour.co.uk