Born deaf, golf is helping Christine Shin develop vital life skills that she hopes to pass on to children with disabilities through the sport

Christine Shin’s deafness means she’s never heard the distinctive sound of a well-struck drive, but golf is filling her life with something greater.

Her PGA Women in Golf Scholarship has launched her into Year One of the Membership Pathway Program at Terrey Hills Golf & Country Club in Sydney.

For Shin, 23, she counts the benefits from pursuing golf as a career almost daily beside Terrey Hills head professional Glenn Knott. Those gains may be invisible to some, but mixing with a greater range of people and feeling more confident about solving problems she may have avoided in the past are just two strong examples in everyday life.

“As someone born with congenital deafness, I have encountered numerous obstacles in my life,” Shin explains. “My journey with golf has been transformational, empowering me with confidence, social connections and vital life skills. I am extremely grateful for this scholarship. It enables me to continue my education and to realise my dream of growing the game of golf for children with disabilities.”

Shin was born deaf and wears cochlear implants. She has never let it define her on-course and had a string of teenage achievements in Sydney’s west while a member at Castle Hill Country Club.

“My early childhood years were challenging due to my hearing impairment, and it took me longer to develop my speech and communication skills than other children,” Shin says.

“Discovering golf at 12 was life changing. As I improved my golf abilities, I also noticed a remarkable increase in my self-confidence. Golf allowed me to interact with people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures and I developed strong social skills from communicating with the ladies at Castle Hill. While my golf handicap went down, so too did the apparent impact of my hearing handicap on my life.”

Shin won the women’s title, at 19, at the 2019 Australian Deaf Championships at Tasmania’s Prospect Vale Golf Club when playing off a handicap of 6. She’s currently off 5.7. Likewise, working in the pro shop at Terrey Hills at a busy Sydney golf club has been an upbeat move.

“Working here has boosted my self-confidence with the learning of new skills. In the beginning, I was a bit insecure but as I’ve gained more experience and mastered my tasks, my confidence has increased,” she says. “I also feel more confident in my skills after compliments from my managers and co-workers. At Terrey Hills, the work atmosphere is encouraging and welcoming, which contributes significantly.”

Shin’s view on the game of golf as a broader vehicle to help within the community is an admirable take for one so young.

“I aim to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. I believe that the game of golf can help these children develop critical skills, such as confidence, teamwork and social connections, just as it did for me,” Shin says. “I also want to show others that having a disability does not stop you from achieving your goals and making an impact in society.”

Her ambitions are encouraged through the Membership Pathway Program.

“I hope to become a PGA member, pursue a teaching career, promote inclusiveness, motivate others, advocate for greater accessibility to golf for people with disabilities, help others develop their skills and have fun doing it,” Shin adds.

Continue on this positive path and she’ll feel the impact around her, if not the sounds of laughter and success. It’s like flushing a driver off the tee.

“I might not hear a well-hit driver, but my body still feels the impact of a well-hit drive,” she says. “When I make a clean touch and see the ball fly through the air, I feel accomplished and satisfied.” 

• For further information on the PGA Women in Golf Scholarship Fund, visit