Bianca Pagdanganan offers advice to young Filipino golfers

Bianca Pagdanganan’s Advice to Young Golfers: ‘Be Your Own Teammate’

As someone who went from being a junior golfer to a pro on the LPGA tour, Bianca Pagdanganan has some words of wisdom to share.

There has arguably been no better time to be a young Filipino golfer than right now. With local opportunities continuously growing and with interest and support for the sport on the rise, young talents are also popping up left and right, not only in the local scene, but internationally as well.

Bianca Pagdanganan, a Filipina who is currently competing on the LPGA Tour and who has been through the journey of going from junior golfer to pro, acknowledges this herself. “It makes me so happy seeing the progress and the growing talent in the Philippines,” she told The GAME.

“I wish I had that much support growing up, but even if I didn’t, I’m glad to see that it’s so much better now than it was during my time.”

Bianca is one of the few professional golfers who represents the Philippine flag on tour and through her journey, she has become proof that it is possible to accomplish this. And based on her experience thus far, these are some of her top tips for young golfers who hope to be like her one day.

Put yourself out there

One of the best things about being a young Filipino golfer right now is, as Bianca Pagdanganan mentioned, the support. With the sport gaining more traction and exposure, and with more organizations willing to support young athletes, Filipinos can use this to their advantage by getting as much experience as they can, even from a young age.

“Support is really all you need for junior golfers,” Bianca expressed. “Obviously the local scene is goof, but you also need to be exposed to other players around Southeast Asia, or wherever else in the world…

“I feel blessed that I was able to get a scholarship and play in college with players from all over, but if you start them out young, it’s really different. That’s how you develop them to become better players because you get to compare where you’re at in terms of how you’re playing when you compete with the best from other countries.

“So I think that’s really the way to improve your game — just playing with people who are better than you.”

Be your own teammate

One of the reasons why golf is a highly competitive sport with limited opportunities is because it is an individual sport. When you’re on the course, no matter who gives you advice or who guides you, it will still always come down to you and your swing. Bianca knows what this is like.

“You really hold yourself accountable for all your actions. Whatever happens is my responsibility. So it’s also about managing your own emotions out on the golf course, and it’s about learning how to hold yourself accountable for everything that’s going on.”

But even with accountability, Bianca stresses the fact that you can’t beat yourself up over a bad shot. Instead, you have to work on being your own teammate and finding ways to support yourself the same way a teammate would.

“You have to be your own teammate, your own cheerleader. You have to celebrate the good shots. And if you hit a bad shot, it’s fine. It happens to the best of us. It’s part of what you do.”

Don’t let it define you

Bianca Pagdanganan had a breakthrough season in 2023. She captured her first top-three finish since 2020, improved her career-high result to a second-place finish, and jumped the rankings from World No. 314 to No. 160. On top of this, as of writing, she is one of the Filipino athletes poised to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

What changed for Bianca in 2023? Her outlook on who she is as an athlete.

When Bianca started giving more time to herself off the court to enjoy hobbies and other passions, that’s when she started to play better golf. This is because she was able to detach her identity as a person from her identity as an athlete, and in doing so, she stopped beating herself up too harshly over unfavorable results.

“Like in a chess match, one wrong move and it can affect your whole shot. You’re gonna go through so much, it’s gonna be so much of ups and downs. But just because you play badly doesn’t mean you’re a terrible athlete or a terrible golfer. It doesn’t make you a terrible person because like I said, one of the realizations I had was that [golf] can’t be your whole world.

“I think that’s one thing I could tell Junior golfers because I feel like It’s hard as a kid. You hit a bad shot but…you can’t let it affect your whole day. It doesn’t define who you are. You’re so much more than what you think you are.”

Images from Bianca Pagdanagan on Instagram.

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