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Changing face of domestic golfer

other Updated: Jan 30, 2010 22:57 IST
Indrajit Bhalotia

Professional golfers in India today play for an annual prize purse of over Rs 5 crore and have completely changed their attitude and approach over the past three years. Today, a professional actually looks after his diet, goes to the gym, invests in the best customised equipment, does yoga and even hires a sports psychologist.

At any of the PGTI events, you can find professionals munching on a health bar or a banana instead of toasts or biscuits. Some of the professionals hire sports nutrition experts for a balanced diet, proper nutrition to recover fast from fatigue and monitor protein intake to get more power in their golf swings. The concept of sports science centres has really captured the imagination of today’s serious golfers. Sports psychologists are seen walking around during tournaments just like they do on the USPGA tour. Golfers like Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri have hired sports psychologists and have shown serious signs of improvement.

It is a myth that serious golfers need not be fit or flexible. Imagine a golf swing where the spine is at an angle where the speed of the clubhead is 120 miles per hour and the whole swing taking only 1.8 seconds to complete. There is tremendous amount of power that is generated and most golfers today hit the ball 300 yards. The sports conditioning expert and the yoga teacher is busy today trying to give professionals the edge. Every single international professional golfer today hires a fitness trainer.

One of the biggest changes has been in equipment. Five years back, golfers would buy equipment and adjust their game to what they have bought but today, professionals have all the options to buy what suits them or just get the equipment free from the manufacturer.

All these changes have brought the Indian professional closer to international standards and the biggest beneficiary today is the 50th ranked golfer in the country. The winning scores have not really gone down but the professional who finishes 50th in an event has reduced his score on an average by about eight to 10 shots.