Awarded Golfer Bianca Pagdanganan On Breaking Barriers For Female Athletes
Bianca Pagdanganan is still in her LPGA rookie year and yet she has grabbed both gold and bronze medals at the 2018 Asian games and earned medalist honours at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage I in 2019. This professional golfer is a rising star in the field and she isn't afraid to go all out every chance she gets. This must be why and how she became the first woman ever "to average 300 yards in driving distance".
In fact, Bianca is the only woman with "that kind of power" and "isn't afraid to use it," Karen Stupples, the Veteran English major-winner shares. But Bianca never took notice of her prowess until other players began praising her for how far she could hit.
What many don't know is that her skill stems from her love for the golf, which began at an early age. "My dad started bringing me to the driving range when I was seven years old. It all started out of curiosity. I just enjoyed watching my dad and thought it was so cool that he hit it far. Eventually, he gave me a set of plastic clubs to pique my curiosity. Once I started hitting things inside the house with my toy clubs, that’s when mom told me to practice outside and bring it to the driving range," she shared.
"When I first left for college, it was pretty tough trying to manage [my] time with everything (school, golf, workouts). But I believe this helped me with my transition to life on tour, especially with all the travelling that I do. I can’t really say that I’ve mastered it already, but it prepared me for the life I was going to live for the next couple of years," she added.
Since then, Bianca has made great strides in her training by dedicating four hours a day to practice. "There’s no other way to stay consistent but to continuously practice the same movement which you’ll be using through 72 holes".
On top of that, Bianca scrupulously studies the course she'll be playing in before a game. She learns all about layout, condition, and the type of grass. "I try to find courses with similar layouts. I often go to the driving range, as well as play 18 holes and keep track of my stats. After assessing all that, I try to focus on what I need to work on when I practice," she imparted.
While Bianca doesn't strictly follow a diet regimen, she dedicates enough time to a workout routine that's quite specific. She shared, "I consult with my athletic trainer who is based in the United States. I’ve been working with her since I was 13. My workouts are specific to golf, and I try to do them every day although I just make sure I don’t tire myself out".
It goes without saying that the hours she poured into perfecting her game has really paid off.
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Bianca makes sure to have fun in this often gruelling process to the top. She's determined to best anything in her way. "I’m very competitive in nature, and golf just throws a number of challenges at you. You don’t just compete with your opponents—you also have to master the course and, most importantly, yourself. There’s a different kind of satisfaction of just being able to overcome all these challenges at once."
But other than the challenges she faces on the field, Bianca seems to be well aware of gender barriers that persist in the sports industry—one of which she believes goes beyond the question of skill.
"I do appreciate that people are starting to pay a bit more attention to women’s golf. But at the end of the day, I think that breaking down these barriers go beyond matching up to the skills of a guy. There are other barriers that persist, like the gender pay gap, and the level of exposure/attention given not just to women’s golf but to women’s sports in general".
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Bianca knows that she still has a long way to go despite beginning to make headlines at only 22-years-old. She wishes the same to young girls who have the same passion for golf, "It’ll be hard at first, but you have to be brave and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. You have to find a motivation that you’ll use as a reminder to keep going".
The ICTSI sponsored pro-golfer Bianca is elated to be part of the LPGA. "[It] has always been my childhood dream. But at the same time, I know that I’m also just getting started. There’s more of life left to live, more ceilings to shatter, and I’m looking forward to it—representing the Philippines in the Olympics, winning a major, making more cuts, and just trying to become better and be the best version of myself".
This young talent is definitely someone to look up to. In fact, inspiring budding female athletes pushes her to be her best. "I’d be happy if I were able to leave a mark and inspire women so they can also pay it forward. That’s one thing we’re often reminded of In the LPGA: to leave things better than we found it for the next generation of golfers".
- Photography Gio Panlilio/TZP