They are always willing to go the extra mile to support their children’s pursuits, be it in sports or extra curricular activities. When Zulaikah Nurziana was seven years old, she told her dad she was interested in signing up for golf lessons.
Her father, Nasser Hamid, knew he would have to dig deep into his pockets but he supported her interest anyway.
“Golf is deemed the most expensive sports to play. We spend a lot on golf equipment, coaching fees, centralised training in Kuching and clothing. It would not be amiss to say that I spend between RM3,000 and RM6,000 each month on her golf expenses,” says Nasser.
Golf is the biggest expenditure in his household, says the lawyer and sole breadwinner in his family of three.
“It takes a lot of hard work to manage our expenses as I am the only income earner in the family. It is a struggle especially when there is a need for equipment change or when my wife and I have to accompany Zulaikah for competitions,” explains Nasser, 58.
But his unwavering support of his daughter’s passion for gold has not been in vain for she has proven to be talented and committed.
Now 15, Zulaikah is an accomplished golfer intent on excelling at her sport of choice. She clinched the gold medal at the 2012 National Schools Competition and bronze medal at the 2016 Sukma Games.
Last year, she added not one but two feathers in her cap after winning her first amateur events, at the Pahang Amateur Open and Sarawak Grand Amateur Open. Last month, she was awarded the Malaysian Junior Golfer of the Year (Female) at the Malaysian Golf Awards organised by ParGolf and Malaysian Golf Association.
Words cannot describe how proud Nasser is of his daughter.
“Zulaikah has sacrificed her childhood and now teenage years to commit to pursuing her dreams of representing the country at the 2020 Olympics, and turning professional after completing her tertiary education,” says Nasser, who also takes pride in Zulaikah’s maturity and strength of character.
“She is able to take losses as well as victory with magnanimity. She accepts her results and carries on when she doesn’t make it to the podium. She also knows the importance of being humble in victory.”
Next week, Nasser and his wife Nur Aishah Catherine will be accompanying Zulaikah to the IMG Academy Junior World Championships and Future Champions Golf tournaments in San Diego, California, in the United States. The trip will cost Nasser a whopping RM40,000.
“I used to accompany her for national competitions. But due to financial constraints, only her mother goes with her for regional competitions,” says Nasser. His daughter makes between five and eight trips overseas for golf tournaments each year.
In the span of nine years, Nasser has forked out about RM400,000 to fund his daughter’s golf expenses but he has no complaints. He didn’t even think twice about mortgaging his home to support Zulaikah’s ambition.
“My wife and I will do everything possible to ensure Zulaikah gets a shot at her dreams. She has the credentials and has shown her capabilities.
“Many of us harbour the dream of representing our country, standing on the podium while Negaraku is being played, and savouring the joy of accomplishment.
“For Zulaikah, her ultimate achievement would be earning the right to compete on the world stage among the best golfers in the world,” says Nasser.
Zulaikah feels blessed to have supportive parents. “Both Mum and Dad have been very supportive from the start. They make it a point to purchase the best equipment to help me improve my game.
“Dad has been my biggest pillar of strength. To show my gratitude, I plan to treat Dad to a meal on Fathers Day,” says the Year 11 student at a private college in Petaling Jaya.