By Martin Lenkowsky / June 1, 2016
Coral Springs resident Bianca Gibbs is like most 8-year-old girls. She likes swimming in the pool, going horseback riding, and having "play dates" with friends. However, unlike most girls her age, her first love is golf. And those in the know, say she's quite good.
Bianca, a second-grader at Coral Springs Christian Academy, has been playing golf since she was four, according to her mom, Mylene Gibbs. And how did a 4-year-old girl become interested in golf?
"Our backyard faces the 17th tee at Coral Springs Country Club, and she would always watch women and children tee off there," Mylene says. "I noticed she was intensely watching, so we got her a set of clubs. She started hitting balls, and they were going far for a 4-year-old. We took her to Pompano Beach Municipal Course where they have a program for kids."
Bianca and golf were a natural fit. "She always wanted to play," Mylene says. "She got up at 9 a.m. and never complained. She's always enjoyed it. At that point she was just hitting balls on the driving range."
Bianca then joined a children's program at Coral Springs Country Club. "These kids were all very good golfers," Mylene says. "She made a lot of friends in her age group."
When that course underwent renovations, according to her mom, Bianca went to Eagle Trace. And in just four years, Bianca is playing at the competitive level. "She started competing in January," Mylene says.
Not only did she begin playing in competitive golf tournaments; she also made it a habit of winning. "She was coming in first place," says Mylene. "She was the local tour champion in Stuart in March."
U.S. Kids Golf, the youth equivalent of the PGA, hosted that tournament. Bianca's received an invitation to the state championship tournament held June 25 in Orlando, as well as to the regional championship in July in Pinehurst, N.C. Plus, her mom adds, she's been invited to a few international tournaments: The British Kids Championship Aug. 11-12 at Woodhall Spa in England, as well as the Venice (as in Italy) Open Aug. 19 to 20. U.S. Kids Golf sponsors all these tournaments.
Tommy Fonseca, golf pro at Eagle Trace, has known Bianca for two years. "For an 8-year-old golfer, I'm not actually sure who's better," he says. "She's just so talented. I've never seen another 8-year-old who hits the ball as consistently as she does. It's her natural ability. It's not necessarily what I show her. She's got great eye-hand coordination. I've never seen anything like it, no matter how old the student is.
"One thing is nobody encouraged her to play. Her mom and dad aren't golfers. I didn't introduce her to the game. This is a girl who should've been playing with Barbies, but she wanted to play golf."
"I'm shocked such a small child can have such an accomplishment," her mom says. "I know nothing about golf. I can't teach her a thing like some other parents. I'm also her caddie. All I can do is carry her bags. It's all her own talent."
According to Bianca, there's nothing about her favorite sport she does not enjoy. "I like everything about golf," Bianca says. "I like putting a lot so I can get better at my golf game. I like seeing my friends at the golf course and at the competitions."
And what do her non-golfing friends say about her accomplishments? "They say it's amazing," Bianca answers.
However, Bianca admits she does get nervous at a competition, but she's found a good way to handle the jitters. "You keep practicing, practicing, and practicing until you get good at it," she says. "You just think about yourself winning first place and just do your best."
Looking way ahead, Bianca's future plans come as no surprise. "I want to be a pro golfer and go to the Olympics in golf," she says.
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