A Dream Painted by a Mom Rookie Professional Golfer Fueled by Unkind Words | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A Dream Painted by a Mom Rookie Professional Golfer Fueled by Unkind Words

The Women's PGA Tour starts on the 29th.

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Kamiya, who passed the professional test last year, carries her 2-year-old daughter, Emiri, as a key chain in her golf bag.

Last year, at the fourth attempt, Kamiya Wakana (22) passed the professional test for women’s golf. Her daily schedule with her two-year-old daughter, Emiri-chan, keeps her extremely busy.

“When I go out to practice, I wake up at 6 a.m., and then I rush to prepare breakfast, laundry, and other chores for my husband and child until my daughter wakes up, within about an hour. After sending her to nursery, I come to the golf practice range from around 10:30 a.m. until early afternoon, then train at home. I pick up my daughter at 5 p.m.”

Of course, mornings are even earlier when heading out to the golf course for practice rounds.

“When I have a round scheduled, I make the reservation for around 7 a.m. and leave the house while my husband and daughter are still asleep. At that time, my husband takes care of preparing breakfast for our child and taking her to nursery. After the round is over, I go to pick up my child.”

While balancing family and golf, Kamaya also collaborates with her husband Yukihiko, who is a golf coach. Since her daughter started attending nursery in June last year, she feels like she has too much practice time, which is quite amusing. “Before that, I really didn’t have any spare time. I used to hit balls with a baby basket or stroller behind the practice range. It was a routine of playing with my daughter when she woke up and putting her back to sleep repeatedly, so I couldn’t concentrate, but that was our daily life,” she laughs.

Now, after going through pregnancy and childbirth, she finds golf even more enjoyable.

“I feel like I’ve taken a step back and gained a broader perspective. I’ve found joy in being able to go practice and the pleasure of playing golf, and I’ve become more focused on my training.”

Kamaya got married at the age of 19 and gave birth to her daughter, Emiri-chan, in September 2021. Being labeled as the first “Mom Rookie” since the implementation of the tour system after passing the professional test last year, she has garnered attention, which sounds positive on the surface. However, unexpectedly becoming pregnant and married as a teenager aiming to become a professional golfer must have surprised those around her.

Moreover, considering the possibility of having to abandon the path of golf due to sudden pregnancy and parenting in her teenage years, there may have been concerns.

“The strongest feeling I had after realizing I was pregnant was the determination to raise my child properly. The next concern was how to deal with golf. My husband and I had numerous discussions about how to approach golf after childbirth. He said, ‘Let’s do our best with both childcare and golf.’ When we reported to our parents, they said, ‘If that’s what you’ve decided, we’ll support you,’ which made me really happy.”

Despite arriving at an answer together as a couple, Kamaya admits, “There were times when I felt scared by the eyes and voices of those around me.”


At the time, my husband was sometimes criticized, and some people said that it was not a sweet world to be a professional golfer while raising a child. When I went to report to the people who had helped me, I was told that they would stop supporting me and that they could no longer support me.

Away from the golf course. The presence of her husband, Yukihiro (left), and their 2-year-old daughter, Emiri, encouraged Kamiya to work even harder.

After hearing those heartless comments, Kamaya admitted, “I felt down for several days.” However, whenever she looked at her child in front of her, she couldn’t just stay gloomy.

“You know, kids are always bright, aren’t they? Seeing that kind of brightness, I felt like I had to cheer up. Instead of being hurt by one person’s words, I realized I needed to listen to the voices of those who support me more.”

That’s why she felt she had to demonstrate her success through passing the professional test.

“On the flip side, I felt like I could turn everything around if I worked hard. I’m grateful for that, and now I’m happy because there are many people congratulating me.”

She even worried about receiving hurtful comments on Instagram, but she deliberately posted photos of her family and child, trying to convey her current self. As a result, she witnessed the reactions of those around her moving in a direction different from what she had imagined.


“I was surprised to see so many people supporting me. Especially, the number of female fans increased. Many people who support my activities as a professional golfer while raising children have sent me messages, pushing me forward. It’s incredibly reassuring. Just the other day, someone approached me at the golf course and said, ‘My wife is a huge fan of yours,’ which made me extremely happy.”

Laughing heartily, she self-analyzed her personality as someone who charges forward when she sets her mind to something and is stubborn, but when it comes to balancing parenting and golf, she said, “I never really thought I couldn’t do it, or rather, I thought it was something ‘doable.’ So, I don’t feel like I’m doing something extraordinary. Nowadays, there are more mom golfers, and many women who work in companies are also balancing work and family admirably.”

In an era where women’s social advancement and support for parenting in the workplace are increasing, there have been efforts to provide childcare facilities at some tournaments in the domestic women’s golf tour since last year. However, it’s still not enough.

“I believe it’s a waste to give up just because you lack confidence or think you don’t have the right environment. There are many things you can achieve when you support each other. I hope my golf journey can serve as a catalyst for someone’s courage.”

Kamiya continues to swing with her daughter, Emiri, who has just been born, at the driving range.

The upcoming season will see Kamaya focusing on the Step-Up Tour, starting from April. “I’ve never participated in a tour before, so I know there are areas where I’m lacking, and I expect to face many challenges,” she remarked. “But if I’m going to do it, I want to aim for victory. I hope to work hard to eventually compete on the regular tour.”

She also finds motivation in her daughter’s daily growth, as she learns new things day by day.

“When I tell my daughter, ‘Be careful of the step here,’ she stops jumping, which she used to do. But when I reassure her, ‘It’s okay to jump,’ even if she fails the first time, she succeeds on the second try. Watching these small experiences of success and growth, I learn that ‘Oh, I can also grow more.'”

Once the tour begins, there will be consecutive matches, and in golf, facing difficulties and being judged strictly on performance are part of everyday life. Nevertheless, Kamaya will harness her inherent brightness and resilience, along with her daughter’s growth and her husband’s support, to forge a new path as a “Mom Rookie” professional golfer.

Kamiya practicing putting with her 2-year-old daughter.
“Nowadays, there are more mom golfers, and many women who work in companies are also balancing work and family admirably,” she said.
“I expect to face many challenges. But if I’m going to do it, I want to aim for victory.”
  • Interview and text Myung-Woo Kim

    Sports Writer

  • PHOTO Shinji Tokari (1st, 5th, and 6th photos), courtesy of Kamiya (2nd, 3rd, and 4th photos)

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