Getting an excellent recreation is rarely an issue. “There are about six or seven tour gamers who’re members out right here,” Mina Harigae mentioned of her house membership, Superstition Mountain simply east of Phoenix. “We have now loads of actually good gamers.”
The views aren’t dangerous, both, with fire-red sunsets in opposition to rocky faces of the mountain vary and desert vegetation waving its muted colours and durable disposition in a scorching and regular wind. “I find it irresistible out right here,” Harigae mentioned of the world the place she lives. However breathtaking views and an appreciation for the grandeur of the world round her have all the time been part of Mina’s life. She grew up in Monterey, the coastal city halfway between California’s borders with Oregon and Mexico, and a spot John Steinbeck described as “the interval between day and evening when time stops and examines itself.” Seeing the Pacific waves in opposition to the rocky shores of the Monterey peninsula brings man nearer to the abstracts of existence on earth: issues like magnificence, poetry, peace and God. It was on this setting that Mina first picked up a golf membership on the Bayonet and Black Horse Membership.
“I went to a junior clinic that was a part of an after-school program there,” she mentioned. It was placed on the Salvation Military and it allowed youngsters like Mina to work together with their friends in an attractive spot the place she stayed till sundown as a result of her mother and father have been working.
There are worse spots to play with different youngsters. Positioned on the location of what was as soon as Ford Ord, the primary garrison for the military’s seventh Infantry Division, the 36-hole facility has lengthy been neglected due to its neighbors, Pebble Seaside and Cypress Level. However the whole space, Seaside, the place Bayonet and Black Horse sit, Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Seaside places life into perspective for all who expertise its scenic majesty, a reality not misplaced on Mina, who’s now 31 and nonetheless on the lookout for her first LPGA Tour victory after a stellar beginner and Symetra Tour profession.
“Having the ability to play golf and do that for a residing is one thing that I by no means take without any consideration,” she mentioned. “There are all types of ups and downs in golf, like with every little thing else in life, however you’re enjoying golf. That places issues in the suitable perspective, for positive.”
Mina went to the Stevenson Faculty in Pebble Seaside the place her highschool golf group performed its house matches on Spyglass Hill. She received the California Ladies’s Novice Championship at age 12 and went on to win the title a complete of 4 occasions. Then, at 17, she received the U.S. Ladies’s Novice Public Hyperlinks and dedicated to Duke, one of many preeminent girls’s golf colleges within the nation. All through that point, her instructor was the legendary professional Jim Langley from Cypress Level.
It’s straightforward for a teen to take such extraordinary alternatives without any consideration, to lack some degree of gratitude for the presents bestowed upon you by your handle and the leisure amenities at your disposal. However Mina all the time knew that she was blessed. She realized that from her mother and father.
“My mother got here to America when she was 12,” Mina mentioned. “My dad came visiting from Japan when he was in his 20s to go to culinary college. They’ve had a Japanese restaurant in Monterey (referred to as Takara, some of the fashionable sushi spots on the Peninsula) for 31 years in the identical location and so they’re working every single day. They’ve been capable of elevate a household due to the arduous work and dedication that they put into that enterprise.
“That was their American dream and so they realized it. They’re nonetheless realizing it every single day. And due to them, I used to be capable of pursue my American dream of enjoying skilled golf. As a teen, you don’t know the way a lot junior golf prices. You don’t have any concept. Now, I notice what a sacrifice it was for my household for me to play the occasions I performed and do the issues I used to be capable of do within the recreation.”
She additionally has a bond to her household background and the character of their American immigrant story.
“I’m so pleased with my Japanese heritage and tradition,” Mina mentioned. “On the identical time, rising up in California and now residing in Arizona, I’m about as American as you will get. That’s one of many best issues about being Asian American. I’ve received the very best of two worlds. I recognize it every single day. And I don’t ever neglect it.”