Casey Yu was a carefree 10 year old boy who had no worries in the world. Until the day she got new headphones.
Then, literally, his whole world changed forever.
When she put her new headphones in both ears, she thought the one in her left ear was broken. She couldn’t hear anything with that ear.
“I told my mother that one of the buds was broken,” Yu said. “She put it in her ear and said it was working perfectly.
“This is how I found out that I was deaf in this ear from birth,” Yu said.
Almost eight years later, the Rancho Bernardo High senior golfer has had a successful new life without a hitch. It’s his life, not his handicap.
“As I can hear perfectly with my right ear, I am not considered disabled,” she said.
Following his diagnosis of deaf ear hearing, Yu said his doctor suggested he play a sport, such as golf, for example.
She tried golf and loved it, in part because she got pretty good at it very quickly.
Yu still plays – and excels.
Last fall’s girls’ golf season was repeatedly postponed until spring, when a shortened season was organized. Rancho Bernardo went undefeated in the Palomar League and Yu was recognized for her consistency by being named the league’s player of the year.
“She’s pretty consistent with her entire game,” said Rancho Bernardo coach Rich Deem. “She knows she has to fight through these bad days that every golfer has.
“Casey has raw talent and that’s more important at this age,” Deem said. “Because of these days, Casey is very busy doing what she needs to do to get better.”
On the verge of a verbal pledge to play next season at Florida International University, the 5-foot-10-and-a-half Yu was named to the All-CIF team after reaching the Southern California Regionals as a junior.
She shot an over par 77 at the Brookside Country Club in Pasadena.
“I was playing well, but my score wasn’t a pretty one,” Yu admitted. “COVID took the year like it never really existed. Everything around me slowed down.
“I could still play golf, but it was (a choice between) taking my Zoom lessons and going to the grocery store or the golf course,” she said.
If you didn’t already know it or if she told you that she is deaf in one ear, you would never know by watching her play or mingle with her friends and teammates.
“I’m fine with this now,” Yu said. “The only time I have trouble is if everyone is talking at the same time. I really have to be careful who is talking and who is just background noise.
Born in Taiwan, Yu said she learned to speak English when her family moved here four years ago. By studying six hours a day for four months, she acquired an ability to speak the language.
Her tool for acquiring a second language was to read books, especially audiobooks where she could see the words and hear the pronunciation at the same time.
“It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t that hard either,” Yu said. “I thought it would be harder, but it wasn’t impossible to do.”
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Learning to play golf would not be so easy for Yu to master. Yu said she considers tee shots to be the strength of her game. phase on which she is still working.
“It’s a sport where no one can predict what will happen that day,” Yu said. “That’s why it’s such a frustrating sport. You see golfers shooting a 65 one day and an 85 the next.
“You have to stay focused on those days because I’ve seen others complain and throw clubs or hit their clubs on the fairway,” she said.