Poona Golf Course, Airport road, Yerwada.(RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO)
Poona Golf Course, Airport road, Yerwada.(RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO)

Wind, roughs to play decisive role in Pune Open golf championship

An upgraded course, swirling winds and tougher roughs could make the pros pitch for their putts
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Pranav Shahaney
UPDATED ON APR 02, 2019 05:05 PM IST

The fairway is all set for the country’s top golfers to showcase their golfing prowess and stake a claim to become the Pune Open Golf Champion.

On Monday, golfers visited the course early in the morning to play a practice round to get a feel of the course - how the fairways are playing and how the greens lay. Players from the city, despite being accustomed to the course, wanted to get their rhythm and swing going and were in attendance since 7:30 am on the course.

Pune’s very own Aditya Bhandarkar is confident going into the tournament from his home course. He says that the course is slightly tougher and more challenging that it has been in the past. “The course really had no defence last year, but because they’ve let the grass grow this year both sides of the fairway, the rough has become longer. I’ve played in Malaysia and Dubai and this course is certainly very close to playing on those courses.”

Heavy winds can often derail the progress of golfers in tournaments and Bhandarkar believes that it could prove be very decisive based on the timings they will tee-off at. According to him, playing before 10 am will give the golfers a distinctive advantage in comparison to the ones playing closer to noon.

He explained, “The wind swirls a lot and that’s going to be a big factor. From 10 am onwards, the wind really picks up while early in the morning the conditions are pretty benign. As the day progresses, it becomes trickier. Typically in courses you expect the wind to be hitting in one direction, but here it swirls a lot. It also hits you in the face and you have smaller targets to aim at, that’s why it will play a big factor in the tournament.”

However, he is happy with the way the course is playing and praised the management of the Poona Golf Course, lauding the course as “one of the best” he’s ever played. “I think it needs to be mentioned that over the last two years, the course has improved dramatically. This year, it’s played the best it has in over a decade. I’ve been playing here since 2005 and this is by far the best it’s ever been. Everyone I’ve met today has told me how well it’s playing and the course committee deserves a pat on the back for their good work,” said the 30-year-old.

Swastik Sirsikar, captain, Poona Club Golf Course, said, “Our course has undergone an upgradation and it is our endeavour to promote golf and provide experience to our junior and budding golfers. I assure the golfers that condition of course will remain the same on all four days.”

Digvijay Singh, a professional golfer, said, “It is always a pleasure to play in Pune. The course looks much more greener than last year. I am looking forward to have good time for next four days. Competition is really good and scores will be really close on all the four days.”

Mithun Perera, a Sri Lankan professional golfer, said, “I am coming to the Poona golf course after two years and it looks really good after renovation.”

Bhandarkar also believes that the tournament could have been even more competitive had it been held a week later. “The level of competition this year has taken a beating because a lot of the players from the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) are playing the Asian tour in Bangladesh. Having said that it will still be extremely competitive,” he said.

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