Taking the right steps towards the pro world

Planning and hard work have lit up Trishul Chinnappa's way

Taking the right steps towards the pro world

Most athletes will openly admit that the joy of winning cannot be equated with anything else. That feeling applies the perfect balm for all their pain, hard work and struggles, giving them the confidence to aspire for more glory. That’s exactly what has happened to budding golfer Trishul Chinnappa.

One of the consistent amateur golfers in the country but struggling to land the spoils, Trishul finally achieved what he had been dreaming of since his junior days. On a balmy winter afternoon last month at the Karnataka Golf Association -- the same course where he learnt to play the game -- the 21-year-old surprised everyone, including himself, by laying his hands on the coveted All-India Amateur Golf Championship for his maiden individual amateur title.

Unlike in the previous three years when he failed to stitch together four solid rounds, Trishul ground out six days of good hard golf to get his name embossed alongside some of the best in the country.

“It was beautiful,” the Kodava youngster told Deccan Herald. “I couldn’t talk that time, but now with the feeling having sunk in, I can. Being the national champion is what every amateur golfer aspires to be. I still remember being drenched in cola and sitting dazed in the locker room. My close friend Viraj Madappa came up to me and told me ‘Trishul do you realise what you’ve accomplished.’ Dreams do come true.”

While Trishul did realise his dream at his very own cradle, the start of the season was a total nightmare that wrecked him totally. At the Bangladesh Amateur Championship last March, Trishul got the first bitter taste of injury.

Thanks to constant travelling over the last few years, Trishul’s back gave away, leaving him with no choice but to rest his body for the next three months. With no golf and just rehabilitation, he couldn’t make the cut for the Incheon Asian Games squad.

That major disappointment helped him rediscover himself. He realised just playing golf is not good enough in modern times where competition is intense. He forged together a six-member team, covering all areas from skills to fitness and nutrition, laying the foundation for a strong revival and locate the missing X-factor.

He fine-tuned his game along with childhood coach and mentor Tarun Sardesai, recovered from his injury with the help of physio Ashish Kaushik, strengthened his body with the help two more physios — Nagendra Prasad and Arjun Harikrishna – sought the services of nutritionist Ryan Fernando and finally controlled his nerves by reaching out to mind coach Afeef.

“Sometimes when you play a lot and want to win, you don’t realise what you do to your body. I was injured going into the Bangladesh Amateur but wanted to play because I was desperate for success. I played that event with muscle relaxants. That’s when my coach told to cool things off until I recover.

“Sadly, I had to take a break in the build-up towards the trials for the Asian Games. I was among the top five amateurs and was very confident of making the flight to South Korea. But, thanks to the injury I couldn’t. That spurred me on to change my game,” said Trishul, who was introduced to the sport at the age of three by his father.

Winning the All-India Amateur has done wonders to the confidence and mindset of Trishul now. Knowing it’s time to graduate, he gave the PGTI Final Stage Q-School last month in Eagleton Golf Resort a shot where he lost in a play-off. Despite the strong performance, he has planned to put his professional ambitions on hold for two weeks.

“The dream of every Indian golfer is to play the Indian Open (to be held in New Delhi from February 19-22). The Indian Golf Union has promised me one of the three spots for amateurs. At the same time, I’m working out on a sponsors’ ticket. If the sponsors’ ticket happens, then I will turn pro at the Indian Open. Otherwise I would play the event as amateur and then turn pro,” said Trishul.

What is heartening though is Trishul’s emergence from the shadows of fellow Bengalureans S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi. After Anirban Lahiri’s rise up the ranks, Chikkarangappa carried the flame for a few years before Khalin announced himself in 2013. Trishul, however, felt he is just starting out and has plenty to learn from his peers.

“Chikka was among the best when we played amateur golf. There was Rashid too and then Khalin grew well. Rashid has won on the Asian Tour and I have plenty of miles to go before I reach that level. What helps is I’ll be able to play with them and learn. There’s a big difference in the level of amateur golf and professional golf.

“I’m not aiming anything big in my maiden year on the pro tour. The sole aim to learn as much as I can. Whatever comes along, I’ll take it.”

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