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Saturday, December 4, 2021

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The Joh family (Tiffany and Gun-Ho with Oak in the background) braves the rain during a trip to Australia. The Joh family (Tiffany and Gun-Ho with Oak in the background) braves the rain during a trip to Australia.
 


Professor’s Love of Golf Inspired His Pro Golfer Daughter

LPGA Tour golfer Tiffany Joh got the spark for her career from a dad who encouraged her to work hard and follow her passion.
By Suzanne Finch
 

Gun-Ho Joh arrived at San Diego State University to teach accounting in 1988, but it wasn’t until 1992 that Jim Williamson, a colleague in what is now the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy at the Fowler College of Business, took him golfing for the first time at the Mission Bay Golf Course. 

Joh kept at it. In time, so did his daughter Tiffany

“During the summer, my dad would drop me off at the Pro Kids First Tee, which is a free golf program for juniors,” said Tiffany, who was 12 when she took up the sport. “I think it was his way of getting free babysitting.” 

That “free babysitting” helped Tiffany to find her passion and career, as she is now a 12-year veteran of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. Tiffany is known to many of the tour’s fans for her great sense of humor, both on the tour and through her social media outlets. 

As a professor, education was, and still is, extremely important to Joh and to his wife, Oak, known as “Mama Joh” to LPGA fans. Though Tiffany earned a golf scholarship to UCLA, she would not make education her career and she turned pro shortly after she graduated in 2009. Less than two years later, she had two professional wins on the Futures Tour.

“I learned that freedom is important not only in education but in all areas and I wanted to let my son and daughter to have the freedom to enjoy what they like and what they wanted to learn,” said Gun-Ho Joh, now a professor emeritus at SDSU. “We were very lucky to find the Pro Kid program in San Diego. It lets the kids study and learn what they wanted. Tiff learned how to make friends, play with them, and how to treat them through the Pro Kids golf program.”

Gun’s hands-off approach has resonated with and inspired Tiffany. “My dad was never a helicopter parent and I’m incredibly grateful for that,” she said. “He’s inspired me to work hard, but to never make the game more important than it is. I always tell people the strongest part of my golf game is my attitude and that is 100% from my dad.”