The youngest is all of eight and the oldest 20, engrossed in shooting their clubs in the holes on the grounds of Chandigarh Golf Club, Sector 6, as they participated in the three-day 19th Punjab Ladies Golf Tournament that concluded on Thursday.
The event attracted the attention of ladies from not just Punjab, but different parts of the country, highlighting the love that the game generates across gender and age barriers. Though most of the girls have been initiated into the sport by their parents, who also practised it, these youngsters are now as passionate about excelling in it. Of course, there are added benefits of travelling abroad for tournaments and meeting interesting new personalities during such travels.
Says Ambala girl Tavleen Batra, 17, the winner of the tournament, who has been playing golf for five years. “My father used to play golf, and when I saw him practise on the lawns in our home, I too gave it a try. I am perhaps the only girl from Ambala who plays golf, though I see many girls taking up the sport in Chandigarh. Golf is something I really enjoy. So, what’s better than taking up professionally what you love to do?”
For Gursimar Badwal, 20, and Gurjot Badwal, 14, two sisters from Kapurthala, the convenience that the sport offers in terms of independence while playing is the most alluring. “One plays individually, so a player is not dependent on a team. Also, most outdoor sports are male-dominated. It is only golf that allows a girl to pick it up anytime in her life,” says Gursimar, adding that they have both been playing golf for almost five years now.
With their parents being sportspeople (father a golfer and mother an athlete), the sisters take pride in doing well in golf. “We also play for the Indian Amateur Circuit and have travelled to countries including Sri Lanka, Turkey and China,” they exclaim. With everything heading the corporate way, golf is no different, says city girl Jaipreet Ghuman. “Corporate golf has recently become very popular. Many of us also picked it up for the exposure it offers, as one gets to meet a lot of interesting people from different walks of life when travelling.”
Jaipreet, who has been into golf for seven years now and plans to take it up along with pursuing higher studies at Hofstra University, New York, adds with a naughty smile, “And then, golf is also a style statement these days.”