Youngster back on course

JOHN HERBERT, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

With visions of Tiger Woods dancing in his head, a five-year-old London golfer has taken his case to city hall and won.

Kalvin Lim had to impress city hall and a local golf professional to receive special permission to play at Thames Valley Golf Club.

Lim, all of 46 1/2 inches in height and weighing in at 55 pounds, shot an amazing 44 to pass a "playability test" on the Hickory Nine last Friday, witnessed by Thames pro Fred Kern.

He can now play the course any time , with his father Kan present.

The parents of the youngster, who learned the game playing Tiger Woods Playstation and watching Tiger on the Golf Channel, went to city hall after being denied access to the Hickory Nine because the city has a policy restricting players under the age of nine.

Kan Lim wrote a letter to the community and protective services committee, explaining his son's exceptional abilities and why he needed to play a longer course.

He had been playing on the short Parkside Nine at Fanshawe, a course designed for wheelchair-bound golfers.

Kan and Chansook Lim, his parents, have been in London for the last year. The family moved to Canada from South Korea, a hotbed for golf, seven years ago. The family operates a variety store on Grey Street.

Kalvin is their only child.

Ross Fair, the general manager of community services for the city, said the policy isn't meant to deny youngsters the opportunity but rather to make sure a young player can keep up the pace of play, is safe on the course and is accompanied by a parent.

Fair said this is the first time a parent has come to the city. He didn't know why the situation wasn't resolved at the course. Fair said perhaps the pro shop staff was not aware of procedures in place.

Fred Kern said in an email that he was not at liberty to divulge any information.

"We rely on the judgment of the pros (at city courses) to see if someone is allowed to go on the course," Fair said. "We've had the procedure in place for some time and there was a communication gap. It was Fred's judgment this child could make his way around the course but not alone. The father must be with him.

"The Hickory Nine is the place for kids to play and learn the game. It is full of kids normally 12 and 13. It is very unusual for someone this young to be this proficient."

Kan Lim said his son lives for golf and started learning the game when he was two. He studies Tiger Woods and has copied his swing. A video shot by his father, which he has on his laptop computer at his variety store, shows the boy has a swing much like Tiger's at the same age when he appeared on the Mike Douglas TV show.

The boy's father said Kalvin consistently scores between 40-50 on regulation courses he has played. His best score is a 39 at the Stone Haven club near Embro.

He's a member of the Canadian Junior Golf Association and has played in six tournaments against seven and eight year olds. He hopes to play in some U.S. tournaments.

Kan Lim wrote in his letter to the city on May 24 that Kelvin needed to play courses longer than Parkside to improve.

The community and protective services committee approved the request pending an evaluation of the boy's skills by Kern.

Lim was thrilled when his son passed the test.

"I really want him to play real golf courses," Lim said. "Every day, he's practising four hours hitting balls in the net or putting down at Thames Valley.

"He learned everything from watching Tiger Woods on TV. I really want him to be a professional golfer."


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