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Author : PURNIMA GOSWAMI SHARMA
A CAREER IN GOLF LOOKS TO BE A PROMISING CHOICE FOR GOLF ENTHUSIASTS, FINDS PURNIMA GOSWAMI SHARMA
According to a recent study by worldgolf.com the number of job opportunities in golf and golf management field is expected to grow through 2016 across the world. Not surprising as golf has been, for the first time, included as an Olympic sport in the coming 2016 Olympic. Professional golf champions from the Indian subcontinent making their mark at the international level are increasingly giving many youngsters the confidence to pursue golf as a career choice.
Apart from professionally playing the sport, golf provides other options in this field, chiefly, golf management. Golf management is the study of all aspects pertaining to the operation and the responsibilities of the golf professional in managing a public or private golf facility. Career paths chosen by students pursuing undergraduate studies in golf management commonly include marketing and management as part of their work load. Even students who choose not to major in golf management find that coursework in the field can improve their ability to clearly articulate issues related to problem solving.
To be a professional golf player the fundamental skills required are discipline, body coordination, determination and lots of patience.“Golf requires the student to have varied motor skills, muscle coordination, sharp mind and the physical endurance to perform for over five hours (which constitutes one round of the golf game) are essential prerequisites to become a golf professional. Not to undermine years of practice, the student is required to master his or her strokes- ranging from a full swing to a partial swing to small putting strokes,” says Kiran Kanwar, Golf coach, National Golf Academy of India (NGAI).
It takes years of practice to build a sound golf swing, one, which does not fall apart under pressure. Sundeep Verma, golf coach, Chimmy Golf Academy, emphasis on good handeye coordination and focus to be able to master that perfect golf swing. “One has to hit thousands of golf balls on the practice range in order to develop muscle memory,” he says. Adaptability is another essential trade. “A competitive golf player lives out of a bag, s/he competes on different turfs and is in a different city every week, says Verma.
For golf course managers, apart from being proficient at the game of golf they need to skilfully manage and motivate people. They also need to be well-versed in areas such as marketing and should possess strong organisational skills.
Entering the arena
A youngster can systematically work towards entering the professional arena. The first step for a golf enthusiast is to start training under a qualified teacher. With the essential abilities the student can start competing in the junior tournaments. These tournaments are for less than 18 years of age. S/he can then compete on the Indian Golf Union (IGU) amateur tour, which conducts around 12 tournaments across India. Under professional category the student will have to contact organisations like Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). NGAI in Chandigarh is the official body recognised by the IGU where national teams get the final coaching before going for international competitions. Candidates interested in teaching golf can also register with them for a certificate course. “Golf is one of the few sports in the country which is structured, there is the IGU which is the governing body for amateur golfers in India and they conduct the amateur, ladies and junior golf tour in the country. The PGTI is the official body responsible for the professional golf tour in India for men and WGAI promotes golf tournaments for women, says Kanwar.
The average age of the top hundred players on the European Tour is 32 years and the average age of the players on the Challenge Tour is 27 years. That’s the average age of most of the best players. This makes the professional game a lot tougher than one can imagine.
Another challenge is the expense involved. Golf is an expensive sport, and equipments, instruction classes and the playing facility all come at a huge price. Getting proper golf tutoring in India still remains one of the biggest challenges.
Locally run golf tournaments in India are dismally low. “There is an almost non-existent effort at school level and no support from the government as far as golf is concerned. The biggest names in golf Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhava have pursued their interest without any governmental support,” informs Verma.
Even in today’s economy, India, China, Korea, Dubai, and other locations are building championship courses. They are all looking to host top tournaments and grounding their place in a worldwide game. “International schools in India are offering golf training, and with the corporate showing interest in the sport there now exists a platform for local tournaments,” says Verma. “We now have international level professional players, a growing league of good teachers, green keepers, golf course designers and specialised golf event management companies,” adds Kanwar. All this adds up to a good future for this game.