Dubai: Nine-year-old Victoria Wojcik from The Els Club has been making heads turn in the local golf circles. Gulf News caught up with Victoria and her Martin while practising in the summer heat at MyGolf Dubai at Dragon Mart 2. Excerpts:
QUESTION: How did Victoria start her golf?
VICTORIA & FATHER: It was while living in Cyprus when Victoria, then six years old, randomly spotted some video footage of golf at Pebble Beach on the computer. She was immediately fascinated with what was going on. Neither her mum or dad played or knew anything about golf, so this was something new to us all.
We then as a family decided that Victoria should take some golf lessons. It involved a 70 minute car journey there and back three times a week from Larnaca to Paphos. We then moved closer to the golf club at Aphrodite Hills Golf Club to help the family and especially Victoria, take lessons from the local Teaching Pro, Danny Heard, whom we are still in regular contact with to this day.
How and why did you come to the UAE?
We visited Dubai on holidays and were taken aback by the quality of the golf facilities in Dubai - it really is a golf city and so much more. In addition for Victoria’s child development, this seemed a very multi-cultural and dynamic place that would suit the whole family. We moved to Dubai one year and two months ago.
Dad’s work is in IT gaming, so we can work anywhere in the world remotely. My wife, Victoria’s mum, is the backbone of the company, as ‘Team Wojcik,’ enabling Martin to spend more time with Victoria. We firstly lived at DAMAC Hills and then moved to Dubai Sports City closer to The Els Club, Dubai, where we are members of the Club and are near to Victoria’s golf coach, Jamie McConnell, at the CH3 Performance Golf Academy.
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How much time and effort does Victoria commit to golf?
Victoria is home schooled, so there is flexibility when and where she plays and practises golf. Currently, she has two to five hours of one-to-one lessons a week with Jamie when his schedule allows.
With the summer being so hot in Dubai, we also use these tremendous indoor golf simulator facilities here at MyGolf Dubai at Dragon Mart 2, where she can properly practise in a climate controlled environment. We are here two to three hours a day no less than four days a week. It is located just 20 minutes from our Sports City home.
What competitive golf is Victoria involved in?
Victoria plays in the local US Kids’ tournaments and some local junior events. She also has a lot of similar aged friends around The Els Club, so she is never short of a partner to play with.
Victoria’s next step is to achieve a golf handicap. We would like to see more competitions for ex-pat juniors in Dubai and the UAE. We have played some Par 3 tournaments, but in our opinion, there is a demand for more such of activities at all of the golf clubs for both junior members as well as junior non-members.
Who is Victoria’s favourite golfer?
Adrian Meronk from Poland, which is where our family are from. We connected with him in Cyprus whilst he was playing on the DP World Tour. He had just missed the cut, but he still found time to spend with Victoria and help her with her game. Now he is based in Dubai we look forward to catching up with him again in the winter.
What are the ambitions for Victoria?
Victoria is a typical active nine year-old girl who loves swimming and running and playing with her friends and seems to have a talent for golf. Her ambition at her age are to be the ‘best in the world’ at golf.
That is not our ambition for her as parents. We will encourage and support her how, when and where to give her the best opportunities in life, whether golf or otherwise and see where the journey takes us and her.
Victoria also enjoys the gym, not currently aligned with CH3, but with her inevitable growth and strength spurt in the next few years it is something that Jamie and the team have their eyes on. We want to encourage Victoria to learn the lessons of hard work leads to results and golf can do just that. We are letting Victoria learn the lessons of life through the platform of golf.
Good luck to Victoria and thank you both for your time.
- The interview took place at MyGolf Dubai