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 South 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.
It’s clear that he has a tremendous competitive spirit, despite his humble appearance. But it’s not just his competitive drive that makes him a winner; there’s another reason for his meteoric rise.
It was the so-called “family-type support” of his sponsor, Daebo Group’s Daebo Golf Team. Ko signed a contract with Daebo Golf Team, which was founded last year, and became a member of the Daebo family.
The group has a golf academy, a driving range, and a wedding hall for Park In-bee at Seowon Valley GC, one of the 10 most prestigious courses in Korea, and Seowon Hills CC, which will host the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour event in October. It also hosts the Dae Bo House D Open on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour.
Initially, the idea was to form a golf team with popular female players. However, when Choi accepted the suggestion of Lee Seok-ho, the midwife who founded the golf team, that “it is more effective to interest men in golf when they are not interested in golf,” a mixed-gender golf team was born.
The fact that Go Gun-taek was chosen by the golf team was the result of Lee’s longtime observation. In a recent interview with Kookmin Ilbo, Lee explained the reasoning behind the signing, saying, “I was very impressed with Go’s 10-under-par course record in the first round of the 2021 Genesis Championship, so I selected him.” He continued, “The more you look at him, the more attractive he is. First of all, he’s nice and unpretentious. I never saw him get frustrated by repeated failures,” he praised.
Go has been the backbone of the Daebo Golf Team. He is the only man and woman to have won a major championship since the organization was founded.
In particular, his victory at the recently concluded Shinhan Donghae Open, a major, sends 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 match into overtime, eventually lifting the trophy.
“It’s the same in the business world. “Even if you have problems, you shouldn’t solve them all at once, but if you don’t give up until the end and work on them step by step like the Go Pro, opportunities will come,” he said. “In that sense, the Go Pro’s victory is a great lesson for our group employees.
Lee is not only the head of the sponsor, but also plays a mentoring role. “First of all, I treat all the players like family. The same goes for their families. One of the things he emphasizes to his players is to get back to basics.
In short, he is a father figure to all of his players. He never pushes his athletes. All he does is leave them a KakaoTalk message before the competition saying, ‘Have fun and stay cool. He also makes sure to show up at the finals to cheer them on. The players find that very encouraging.안전놀이터
When I asked Lee how he plans to run the golf organization in the future, he said, “I plan to focus on discovering and nurturing prospects rather than stars.”