From left to right: BISP Headmaster Neil Richards, BISP Golf Academy Head Coach Oliver Bates, Napat “Toy” Paramacharoeroj, Vanchai “Mark” Luangnitikul, Secondary Principal Simon Meredith, Athletics & Activities Director Jeff LaMantia
It’s only been a few months since British International School, Phuket (BISP) established the BISP Golf Academy, but already a pair of 13-year-old golfers have earned some treasures for the school’s trophy case.
Napat “Toy” Paramacharoeroj and recent addition Vanchai “Mark” Luangnitikul came in 2nd and 1st respectively at the recent 2015 Southern Thailand Golf Championships held on 16-17 May at the Blue Canyon Country Club in Phuket.
Though Toy has been at the school for eight years, it’s not the first time he has played with Mark. Both boys grew up playing in the same youth program at Phunaka Golf Course in Chalong.
BISP Golf Academy Head Coach, and former professional player, Oliver Bates, says both young players show immense potential and the school aims to compliment their skills by focusing on fitness and the psychology of the game, in addition to providing tougher competition.
“I was impressed by how mature they are on the course. They have a good attitude and are very talented, you can tell they want to succeed,” Head Coach Bates recalled about watching them compete.
The competition only gets tougher from here, especially for Mark who is expected to be the anchor of the squad after he rebuffed scholarship offers to prestigious academies in the United States and Australia to stay in his native Phuket and study and improve his game at British International School, Phuket.
In July, Mark will defend his title as one of the world’s top young golfers when he travels to Torrey Pines in San Diego, California to compete in the Callaway Junior Golf Championships 2015. Last year, Mark came in 4th in the under-12 category, in addition to finishing 5th in 2011 when he was nine.
Back in Phuket, Mark, Toy and the other members of the BISP Golf Academy will soon be able to work on their short game without leaving the school’s 99 rai campus. Later this year, the planned BISP Golf Centre will open within the school grounds.
“As all top professionals and coaches will tell you, the scoring part of the game is within 100 yards of the flag,” says Head Coach Bates.
“The new professionally designed short game area will give students a chance to work on their putting, chipping, pitch shots, bunker shots with the pitching area promoting distance control from all possible lies. A full USGA specification green will be available for all kinds of putts that will prepare our elite players for tournament golf,” he adds.
“We are trying to work out where we can play more competitive golf. I think there are some really good coaches in Phuket, good organisations that develop great players.
“What we’re trying to do is put it all together – combining excellent academics and intensive training – and give these kids the opportunity to get to the highest levels of the sport.”