12 April
  • Admin

Golf in India vis-a-vis the West

Golf is an amazing outdoor game. With popular tournaments such as the PGA Tour, RBC Heritage, AT&T Byron Nelson, Shell Houston Open and the Masters, the U.S., U.K., Mexico and several other western nations have been endorsing this precision sport the grand way. JB Holmes, Jordan Speith, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Rory Mcllroy, Rickie Fowler, Steven Bowditch, Chris Kirk, David Lingmerth and Fabian Gomez are a few of the major tournaments’ defending champions. The International Golf Federation (IGF) and the US Golf Association (USGA) are the premier international bodies regulating the game.

Talking about the occupation of golfers in the west, most amateur players teach golf to beginners and compete in just the local competitions. The remaining few get to compete full-time on international tours. They often start as amateur players and attain the status of professional only after winning at least a few major tournaments. It can therefore be concluded that golf is a well-established sport in the west.

In contrast, the euphoria of golf is still rising in India. The Indian Golf Union (IGU) is the apex body that conducts both national and state level tournaments to spot and harness golfing talent across categories such as gentlemen, ladies, junior girls and junior boys. The first IGU National Qualifier for gentlemen in 2016 concluded this February at Jamshedpur. The winners would get to play world-class golf in international tournaments such as the World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico and the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Korea.

Golf is a growing sport in India. It is especially popular among the wealthier classes however is yet to catch up with others, mostly due to the heavy costs involved in playing the sport. Nevertheless, the baton of golf soars high in India courtesy several world-class players, including Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri. Popular golfing tours of Europe and Asia have been conquered multiple times by both of them.

The Hero Indian Open is the main golf tournament in the country, co-approved by the Asian Tour and European Tour. There is also a professional golf tour of India. In addition to commendable performances by players from time to time, the IGU is also striving hard to improve the standard of the game.

Besides, there are only 196 golf courses registered across India and around 50% of those are situated in military bases. 35 additional courses are unaffiliated. For the civilians, this leaves a number needing considerable improvement as far as adequacy of infrastructure for the golfing talent is concerned.

To conclude, golf in the West is at its peak while in India the sport is on a rising curve with areas such as affordability and infrastructure demanding more attention.

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