By Dr Harish Kumar
In a country where less than 1% of the population plays golf, Aditi Ashok was able to get people waking at 4 a.m. to tune in for the final round of Olympic Golf. While the end result may not have been to our liking, the LPGA Tour player nearly edged out the top ranked players at this high stage of golf. Having bloomed from an early age in the Indian golf scene, Aditi now has two Olympics under her belt; her first appearance was in Rio where she made a mark for being one of the youngest medal aspirants in the sport. Her story is now a call to action to organisations and people alike to promote the sport of golf.
Samriddh Chand Thakur, a golf prodigy from Dehradun, has done wonders in golf by making it his passion. At the young age of just 10 years, this child has already participated in more than 80 golf tournaments in the last 5 years. Samriddh started learning golf at the early age of 5 years in Dehradun at the Garhi Cantt Golf Course. Looking at his dedication and interest, his father Sunil Chand Thakur became a member of FRIMA Golf Course. Dharmendra Vohra, Basher Mohammed, Ravi Verma and Pramod Kumar were Samriddh’s coaches in the initial days.
He has also started going to Chandigarh for regular coaching. Currently, he is under the guidance of Gursimran Sethi at the Chandigarh Golf Course. He has also been taught by Jassi Grewal for a few months. Samriddh qualified for the kids golf World Championship in United States and participated in this tournament in 2017. In 2019, Samriddh was among the top 3 golfers in the North Zone merit of IGU. This year, he is presently in 3rd position in his age group in the IGU merit list.
Due to lack of regular tournaments, coaches, accessibility to the golf course in the evening, the driving range, it is very difficult to keep the skills at par with other golfers who have all these facilities. However, Samriddh is trying his best by managing with the facilities available in Dehradun. With the support of his father in training and travel, Samriddh has become a hope for the future of golf in our country. The Uttaranchal Golf Foundation (UGF) is committed to assisting him in playing and excelling in this game by making all the necessary arrangements possible in Dehradun.
(Dr Harish Kumar is Secretary, Uttaranchal Golf Foundation)