Dennis Lim Footballer Turned Professional Golfer
A post-career of a footballer, especially a forced retirement in the Singapore football scene due to injury, will usually be either a football coach, football pundit or probably involved in any football-related businesses. However, former
A post-career of a footballer, especially a forced retirement in the Singapore football scene due to injury, will usually be either a football coach, football pundit or probably involved in any football-related businesses. However, former S.League footballer Dennis Lim begs to differ. He took up golf professionally and established himself in Thailand’s professional golf industry as the one and only overseas based Singaporean professional golfer.
A serious motorbike accident cut short the former Singapore U-23 Captain’s football career back in year 2006 as he broke his femur, torn his ligament (ACL & PCL) and damaged some of the his nerves on his ankle. Fortunately, Lim worked back to fitness but unwillingly he had to leave the sport.
Given his competitive nature, the versatile goalkeeper/outfield player who used to turn out for Balestier Central, Clementi Khalsa (both teams merged at the end of year 2002 to form Balestier Khalsa), Young Lions and Sengkang Punggol (Hougang United) between year 1999-2006 continued to excel in the corporate world as an Accountant and a Banker. That was also the time he took up golf hoping that it would come in useful during his course of work.
(Dennis Lim, standing 2nd from the left, playing for Young Lions/ Photo: Timnee)
“Initially, I thought picking up the sport (golf) would help me in my job as I could use that as client entertainment. Never did I expect that I would be addicted to the sport. Once again, the competitiveness in me set in and I took that challenge up against myself,” said Lim.
Despite only picking up golf in September 2009, Lim turned professional within a short 3.5 years, in January 2013. Not a bad achievement for one to score 5 under par 67 twice, once in China Tour and the other in Thailand PGA, who is actually just starting his 6th year in professional golf. And as much as many people perceive the life of a golfer to be lucrative, Lim insists it is not exactly true. In his first 2 years of professional golf career participating in the Thailand Tour, Lim used up all his saving after missing out nearly 90% of the cut. In a nutshell, Lim did not receive any form of income in the first 2 years after turning professional.
In order to continue pursuing his passion, there was once Lim even had to return to Singapore to be an Uber driver just to raise some fund for himself. He clocked an average of 12 hours’ drive a day and on the last day before he flew back to Thailand, he clocked a full 24 hours!
A humble estimation of SGD$35,000 is required for Lim to compete overseas annually in which he admits it is not possible without any support coming from the sponsors. Now that his current sponsorship is coming to an end soon, Lim will be looking out for more support.
(Photo: Provided by Dennis Lim)
“I have definitely thought of giving up. At one point, I had to go to the temple to have the free meals, took up part time jobs, had rice and canned sardines every day for a week till my next sum of money came in. Despite all the bad times, I am always positive and determined to pull it through. I guess it is just my nature that I want to do things to the best I can. And of course, I believe I can. But in golf, fund is a critical factor. Unlike football, where your only cost is football boots,” explained Lim.
“In my opinion, football is 80% skill & physical ability and 20% mental strength while golf is certainly a sport which requires more than 50% of mental strength. Football is also a reaction sport and you have your teammates to help you too. For golf, you have all the time in the world to think of your next move, as the ball is dead. Having said that, too much of thinking might kill the instincts. Hence, you would require stable control of the mind which is probably opposite from football where adrenaline is the main drive. And another point to note, football is a direct contact sport as it is your body against the ball. For golf, it requires another set of precision skill with a medium (equipment) in between the ball and the golfer,” added Lim.
So for the footballer turned professional golfer, does he miss the time of battling on the football pitch?
“I still love watching European football because the level of the play and interest is different. However, I do not miss playing football at all. It is way past me. The day I threw away my football boots, that was the day I gave it up totally.”
Main photo provided by Dennis Lim.