Young ladies golf club

A year after the launch of the professional women's golf tour, many more girls are swinging on the greens.

updated: September 06, 2007 11:20 IST
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New Delhi:

A year after the launch of the professional women's golf tour, many more girls are swinging on the greens.

16-year-old Vaishavi Sinha is one of the promising young faces of Indian golf. She won the Pakistan Open in Lahore last year.

Besides striking the golf ball hard, she also strikes a balance between sports and studies.

"The last month before the boards or exams, I just lay off golf and just concentrate on studies," said Vaishavi.

Till last year, there were no opportunities for amateur golfers beyond a level.

An earlier generation of players like Nonita Lal and Shruti Khanna suffered in the absence of a professional platform. That changed with the creation of the tour in 2006.

"To play even amateur golf today in the country, to successfully compete in the circuit, you need a minimum outlay of Rs two lakh. You can sustain it for a few years but then after a while it is just an outgoing expenditure with nothing coming back," said Qureshi.

Golf is an expensive sport. A good set of clubs costs Rs 1 lakh. A good golf ball costs Rs 300 and travel expenses, lodging expenses and participation fees cost close to Rs two lakh annually.

The pro tour gives the girls an opportunity to continue doing something they've invested the best years of their lives in.

"There's going to be a great future for girls who come into pro golf, they are going to have fun and they are going to have a very satisfying career," said Champika Syal, Secretary General, Women's Golf Association of India.

Chandigarh-based Irina Brar, the top Indian amateur for five years and the current top pro, agrees.

"It's been fantastic for me because I had reach a saturation point in amateurs and this tour was long overdue," said Brar.

Now women pros need not travel to the United States to make their mark.

"The tour in India has given us the opportunity to start here and play the best golf and earn money, and sustain ourselves and at the same time have the support system of your family," said Pragya Mishra.

With many more girls taking to the greens, women's golf in the country seems to be coming into its own.