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Young Jun Lee

Young Jun Lee

Young Jun Lee
Speaking Of Golf International Golf & Golf LifeStyle Radio Show

Q and A with Jun Lee, President, Founder and Designer

 

When did you start playing golf?

I started playing golf at the age of five in Lansing, MI. I told my mom that I wanted to play golf so she bought me a set of clubs along with a set for herself. We started playing at the same time and the game of golf ignited a special bond between the two of us.

 

What was your stroke average when you were competing in Junior Golf?

While I was living in Seguin, Texas, I was shooting in the low 70's by the age of 13 and shot 66 at the age of 15.

 

When did your family move back to Korea?

When I was 16, my mother went back to Korea to only be gone for a month and found out that she was diagnosed with cancer. She ended up staying in Korea to work and support the family. I lived with my brother, Seung-Chul and it really was a time when I had to grow up fast. One of the toughest times of my life. Both he and my sister moved back to Korea while I was in college. My oldest brother, Eun-Chul, who is a rifle shooter, moved back to Korea to train for the Olympics. He has broken many world records and has competed in 5 Olympics. He won a Gold Medal in Barcelona 2002.

 

Where did you go to college?

San Jose State University in San Jose, CA. Full golf scholarship to #1 ranked NCAA women's golf team.

 

I understand you had a life changing moment. Please elaborate.

I was in a car accident. The accident was life changing for me. I was hit by a truck (F350) and my car spun out of control. I remember during the spin, I could see cars swerving around me and I thought I was going to die. That thought crossed my mind about five times but there was also a voice inside me that said, "Please God just give me one more chance to live and I will change my life and live each day to the fullest." My car stopped (facing traffic) at a wall of cars and I felt this warm peaceful feeling that I had been saved. I had disc injuries in my neck and back which caused numbness throughout my body – but I survived. I am able to play a round of golf but I am unable to practice and hit more then a bucket of balls. I ignored the signs and at one point my doctor told me that this is serious and if I continue to practice too much, I can get to a point where I will have chronic pain for the rest of my life or be paralyzed. I am forever grateful for that accident because it woke me up and I live each day as if it were my last.

 

Why did you move back to Texas?

My mom had protected me from people trying to give me golf lessons so before the age of 16, I used my natural swing and became a scratch golfer. After she left, I started to listen to instructors and lost my natural swing. After meeting Hank Haney, I realized that all the lessons I took before him were not beneficial. I decided to move to Dallas to learn from the best golf instructor in the world. I will never forget the lessons I took from Hank. Several days in a row, he would spend 5-7 hours teaching me and I don't know how many buckets of balls I hit. I never told him that I was injured because he was giving me 100% and I wanted to give him my best. I remember knowing that my body couldn't take it but I wanted to learn to a point where I hit so many balls that my body went completely numb.

 

Why did you become a golf instructor?

I became an instructor at Vista Ridge Hank Haney Golf Ranch to pass on his extraordinary knowledge of the golf swing. I wanted people to learn golf the right way. To be an effective teacher, you must understand ball flight rules and technique but also to properly diagnose your students. Like a doctor diagnosing his patients, it should never be a guessing game.

 

What inspired you to design women's golf apparel?

I grew up with my mom who designed golf clothes for me. After she left, I went shopping for golf apparel and I quickly realized how unimaginative and unflattering golf clothes were. Growing up I always dreamt that I would someday design fashionable and functional golf wear. I design with the golf swing in mind. This is second nature to me since I know the game intimately. When I design I respect the tradition of the game and the dress codes and the importance of functionality. I see functional clothes out there that are unflattering and then I see designers (who have never touched a golf club) design golf wear. For example, they would make shorts without pockets and shirts too short for the golf swing. The right clothes can make you feel good and confident and I truly think it helps you to play better golf.

 

Who inspired you about fashion?

My grandfather always custom designed clothes for himself, family and friends. He loved one of a kind outfits and focused a lot on quality garments with luxurious fabrics. My mom designed clothes for me and taught me a lot about fashion. If we ever went shopping together, I would follow behind her and watch how she picked clothes. She would feel them first before she would even look at the style. I touched the clothes she would touch and listen to the comments she made. Then she would like the feel and look of the style and really take in how it's constructed and pointed out details. My mother continues to inspire me. Her strength and courage are hidden by her graceful and feminine beauty. This is why my design elements always include style and functionality.

 

When did you start your line?

Spring 2007 was my first line. I had about 20 pieces just to test the market. It was so refreshing to hear my concept come out of the buyers mouth. Quality, boutique, functional, innovative and you can wear on and off the course. I loved hearing people say, "I would wear that and I'm not a golfer". I’ve been hooked ever since.

 

Every entrepreneur struggles when getting started did you?

Struggle is an understatement. The clothes were well received and the excitement from the customers could not be ignored but I quickly realized that I did not have the funds and business knowledge to continue to grow the business. By the 6th season, I was at a point where, I didn't think I could keep going. I feared losing everything and losing sight of my dreams. What kept me going was a an inner voice, "Don't worry have faith" then Timber Creek Capital came along and saved my company and my life. Everyone involved are angels with a ton of talent.

 

So in a nutshell, how do you feel about Timber Creek Capital?

It is truly a blessing and I am now a part of a Dream Team. Just like when I had been saved from that accident, I feel like I have been saved again. All my dreams are coming true and I look back to realize that all the hardship and the pursuit of becoming a professional golfer is just a puzzle piece to my true destiny. Being under the family umbrella of Timber Creek Capital is surreal and at the same time they are making all my dreams a reality. Don’t get me wrong…it’s hard work…the team at Timber Creek Capital have very little tolerance for under performers and this is where my stamina as an athlete has prepared me to keep up with my end of this wonderful relationship.