Before the ‘Hero Indian Open 2012’ officially took off, the practice sessions for all the participating golfers were given a fun element in the form of activities like ‘Pro-Am’ Professional-Amateur), celebrity putting and skills tests.
But it was the ‘Pro-Am’ that became the sought-after event — one that everybody was looking forward to. This was purely because it gave a chance to local golfers to group up with professional, national and international golfers and play a complete 18-hole game.
“‘Pro-Am’ is an amazing opportunity and a learning experience for the amateurs who take part. Everyone said they had a good time and loved the golf course. For the pros, this was like a test drive of the course before the real tournament begins,” informs Sumit Rathor, president, Karnataka Golf Association (KGA).
The amateurs, some of whom play regularly at the City’s golf courses, thoroughly enjoyed the session and cherished the experience they had.
“It was really fun! Playing with professionals makes such a difference to the game. I was in Niall Turner’s team and got a few valuable lessons free of cost,” shares athlete Ashwini Nachappa, one of the amateur golfers. “It was really tiring because it was a very hot day.
But my pro was from Ireland and seemed to enjoy the sun quite a bit,” she adds.
Among the amateurs, some had even come down from different parts of the country just for the match. Aveek Sarkar, the captain of the Royal Kolkata Golf Club, was one such person.
But it wasn’t a bad decision since he played alongside one of India’s best golfers, Shiv Kapur.
Even for the pros, it was a welcome change to be playing with golfers of different leagues.
“It was a good game. I played with Ashish Ballal, who represented India in hockey. It was a great pleasure watching him play,” says golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar, who led his team.
Some of the other professionals who participated were Anirban Lahiri, Chiragh Kumar and Jyoti Randhawa among Indians and Peter Hanson, Richie Ramsay and James Morrison from the international golf circuit.