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Golf's new-age femme brigade

When Jeev Milkha Singh won the Scottish Open on Sunday, Jan Squire stood by him with a smile on her face. So, what sets apart Jeev's caddie from the others? She is one of the few women caddies on the professional tour. Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports.

other Updated: Jul 17, 2012 23:01 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

When Jeev Milkha Singh won the Scottish Open on Sunday, Jan Squire stood by him with a smile on her face. So, what sets apart Jeev's caddie from the others? She is one of the few women caddies on the professional tour.

However, the scenario could change in India. Six young women have recently been shortlisted by the Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) and ministry of tourism for training as caddies.

The six come from different backgrounds - a housewife, student and even a former state-level handball player. But they share the same dream - to be able to survive on their own.

"I applied for the six-week course after seeing an ad in the paper. I asked my husband but his initial response was negative. I still sent in my application and got selected for the practical and theoretical training at the DLF Golf and Country Club," says the soft-spoken bespectacled Jaiseema.

Former handball player Moonmoon is equally ecstatic about the opportunity. "Handball is not popular but golf is. I know a bit about the sport and am looking forward to know more about it," she says, undeterred that she would need to travel more than two hours to get to the course everyday.

Jaiseema's father, a hockey coach, told her to play her sport, but the 18-year-old was determined to try her hand at golf.

But are they aware of the long hours under the sun? "Yes," Moommoon states firmly.

Firm support
Chosen under the 'hunar se rozgaar' campaign, the WGAI will provide practical knowledge while the ministry will fund the programme. The six will sit for an exam and would get employment if they clear the test.

If one looks at records, a majority of golfers who've made a mark in India started out as caddies. Let's see what the future holds for these six youngsters.

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