WAIPAHU, Hawaii (KHON) – Ethan Abella loves playing golf.

“You can reflect on your mistakes and in a way life reflect translates to golf, because everybody makes mistakes. It’s up to you to improve,” said Abella, 11.

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But, the Waipahu child didn’t start off liking the sport.

“It’s a funny story,” said the Hawaii Technology Academy student.

“My dad used to play tennis and my grandparents play golf, and they wanted me to play golf. One Christmas, I asked them to give me a Nintendo Switch. Instead, I got golf clubs. They said the reason why I didn’t get a Switch because they didn’t want to burn my eyes.”

Reluctantly, Abella took his first golf lesson at age 8.

“It was love at first swing.”

When he’s not doing homework, Abella said he’s on the golf course for four hours a day, every day.

The 11-year-old was recently invited to participate in the 2023 Sony Open Pro-Am at the Waialae Country Club. Without hesitation, he seized the opportunity.

“I was playing with [professional golfer] Adam Schenk and a few other people!”

“I want to make my family proud,” he added.

Abella’s dad said, Ethan makes the family proud every day.

It’s his commitment to the craft that’s the 11-year-old’s secret to success.

The golfer also practices Escrima, a form of Filipino Martials Arts. At age six, he flew to Las Vegas to compete in a competition, where he snagged 1st place.

“I was the youngest there, because there were only 10-year-olds and eight-year-olds over there. And, I was six. I was shocked because I got the first place medal.”

While he still practices Escrima, Abella said golf is his first love.

“I want to be a professional golfer when I grow up,” he said.

“First, I would have to make it to college. My goal is to play Division 1 golf at Stanford University, or Pepperdine.”

In the meantime, Abella said, he’ll keep working on his short game, while ensuring his family knows how grateful he is.

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“I’d like to especially thank my parents for supporting and spoiling me. Golf is really expensive. They recently bought me new clubs and and I could tell the look on their faces. They were like so shocked when they saw price!” added Abella.