Katsuya Asano of Kanagawa, Japan, has recently been accepted to play on the Men’s Golf team at King University in Bristol, Tenn. Asano, an IJGA Class of 2014 graduate, will begin his college career in January of 2015.
Although Asano’s path to college golf was paved with many obstacles and detours, his personal drive and dedication to improvement every day in the classroom and on the golf course allowed him to achieve his ultimate goal of playing collegiate golf.
Arriving at the IJGA in the Spring of 2011, Asano had very limited experience in golf and even less experience with the English language. In his first year at IJGA, Asano, as a beginner golfer, had a scoring average of 99 on the challenging courses on the International Junior Golf Tour schedule. In the classroom at Heritage Academy, Asano struggled with adjusting to learning in English; however, the supportive faculty assured the necessary fundamental base was set for Asano to succeed in his future academic endeavors.
In the 2012-2013 academic year, Asano continued his progress in the classroom and developed a passion for Art, winning many competitions within South Carolina. On the golf course, his scoring average dropped 10 strokes to 89 and he was able to record his personal best score of 80 at the IJGT Georgia Junior at Savannah Harbor.
After a summer full of study and preparation, Asano was placed in mainstream classes at Heritage Academy for the 2013-2014 year. A student who was not able to converse in English only two years earlier was excelling in the classroom and selected to the school’s Honor Roll. Under the direction of IJGA instructor, Dan Merrell, Asano was able to lower his scoring average to 85 taking on difficult courses including the Dye Course at Colleton River Plantation (host of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur) and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (host of the 2012 PGA Championship). Asano ended his junior career at the IJGT Bridgestone Golf Tournament of Champions firing rounds of 80-74-81. The round of 2-over-par 74 was the best of his career.
Asano’s improvement, as well as his physical stature, attracted the attention of college coaches. With an offer to play at a Division III school, all that was needed for Asano to enroll in school was the necessary SAT and TOEFL scores. At the time of graduation, he had not met these scores yet. This did not deter Asano from continuing his dream of playing collegiate golf. He spent the summer at IJGA working on his SAT and TOEFL preparation and contacting college coaches to locate roster spots available.
After much effort and patience, Asano connected with King University and was able to secure a spot on the team starting in January of 2015. He was also awarded a $10,000+ academic scholarship to help finance his education.
In a world where instant gratification is desired and often times expected, Asano’s story reminds our community that achieving dreams is a process that requires a strong work ethic, the ability to overcome adversity, and patience.