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At the Sarines household, golf is love language

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF Monalisa Sarines/FB WHAT was just one of the activities their parents introduced to them became a passion for siblings (from left) Mona, Lisa and Vito Sarines.

It’s how every golf origin story should start: Dad brought his young daughter to the driving range. And found out she’s got the gift he wished he had: A natural talent.

Only in the case of Arnold Sarines, that gift for golf is carried by his entire brood of three. Twin daughters Mona and Lisa, and son Vito.

“Six years ago, when I brought with me Mona and Vito to the mall, Arnold brought with him Lisa to the driving range. Then Arnold got a junior golf 7i at the pro shop and let Lisa hit some balls,” the kids’ mom, Armida, said.

“Surprisingly, Lisa would hit most of the balls and get them flying at a remarkable ball flight and distance.”

Pleased with what he saw, Arnold took videos of Lisa swinging the club and hitting the balls, and when we all got home, showed the videos to Mona and Vito who also got encouraged by what they were seeing Lisa do in the video.

Now to set the record straight, Arnold is no push-over in golf. Despite his busy schedule that keeps him from the golf course, he’d break 90 any given time.

Yet he doesn’t want to play with the children for fear of “affecting their game with how he swings.”

What he did right, though, was nurture Mona, Lisa (the twins are turning 12) and Vito, 11, into three of the most promising junior golfers in the country.

They have been competing internationally — and faring well at that — including the IMG World Juniors, FCG Juniors and US Kids in North Carolina.

Just recently they dominated the JPGT Skills Challenge here at home.

But it can’t be all that fun. No shortcut to success, after all.

The three of them are in Grade 6. And now home-schooled. That means they get to train every day at either Orchard or Eagle Ridge. They also undergo physical conditioning twice a week, and sports psychology once a week.

“Yes, they are taking their golf more seriously now,” Armida said.

Very soon, they will also be working with a physician/dietician. That would cover essentially everything an athlete would need.

But it’s not all golf in the Sarines household.

“They have been introduced to various activities before 2017. They all took up gymnastics, karate, swimming, ukulele, piano, and even singing lessons. Mona and Lisa took up ballet and tap dancing,” Armida said.

Arnold and Armida would make it a point to watch their kids compete. And make sure they rein in the young, raw emotions during a round.

“Our role as parents is to process their emotions, assist and guide them in coping with the pain of losing and accept the reality of the situation, and lead them to make sound decisions by pointing out what lessons have been learned from the experiences of the game,” Armida said.

Rough days are manageable, while victories are usually celebrated with a diet cheat-day.

The hardest part of having children who are into golf is “waking them up early in the morning, and telling them to sleep early at night.”

Otherwise, the couple enjoys the “journey” of seeing their children pursue their dreams. Out in the fairway, and beyond.

“Where at the beginning, your idea of a tournament is one that you would want your child to win. But later on, there are so many more important things to focus on than just winning, and that I believe is how we parents ‘mature’ in this Jungolf parenting business,” Armida said.

And you don’t need a natural talent to do that.

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