How the ‘little’ Mysuru churns out so many golfers

How the ‘little’ Mysuru churns out so many golfers

While Rahul Ganapathy was the first one to put Mysuru on national golfing scene, Pranavi Urs is the latest to carry forward that legacy. DH Photos/ Srikanta Sharma

Among all things famous - from an illuminated palace to mulberry silk sarees and crispy butter masala dose to melt-in-your-mouth Mysorepak - the heritage city of Mysuru has also been dishing out top-class golfers since the past two decades.

With just one full-fledged golf course and no fancy coach, Mysuru’s contribution to Indian golf has been commendable; much to the envy of bigger cities with five-star facilities.

Situated at the foot of Chamundi Hills, the Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Golf Club (JWGC) is inside the premises of the 110-acre Mysore Race Club. A haven for many golf enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals, who are making their presence felt in the domestic as well as the international tours.

Rahul Ganapathy was the first break-through talent from the royal city to make it to the national golfing scene. After having won many tournaments as an amateur he bagged the ‘Rookie of the Year Award’ in his debut season on the PGTI in 2000 as a 21-year-old. This legacy of Mysureans creating ripples continues to grow even today, as a 14-year-old Vidathri Urs recently won the trials in Delhi to make it to the Indian team for the Queen Sirikit Cup held in Malaysia.

Yashas Chandra, professional golfer and PGTI’s rookie of the year in 2018, started his golfing career 15 years ago and made a conscious decision to stay put in Mysuru despite tempting offers to shift base to bigger golf academies. Apart from winning seven amateur tournaments across the country and being number one on the Indian amateur tour, he has represented India multiple times in the British Amateur Championship, the South African Open, and Asia Pacific Amateur in New Zealand to name a few. “Mysuru is a small place and having the comfort of accommodating practice, workout, and study while living with my family gives me a sense of fulfillment. I have received constant support from the club and its members in terms of facilities. Unlike the crowded golf courses in Bengaluru, we have the luxury of having the entire course for ourselves on most days,” he said.

Another home-grown golfer on the women’s tour is Pranavi Urs who became the first player in the history of Indian golf to win two consecutive professional events; one each with an amateur and pro status. She has regularly featured in the national team for many international tournaments and acknowledges the encouraging environment in Mysuru for her steady rise.

“I get to play with some of the best male golfers in the country on a daily basis and there is a healthy competition between us. Along with having fun we strive to improve our game together as playing partners,” she said.

While the layout of the Par-70 course consists of nine holes outside the race track, which has narrow fairways and outer bounds (OBs) on both sides, the nine holes inside the track have wide fairways, are treeless and windy. Hitting straight drives off the tee becomes a habit thanks to this unique combination.

Aalaap IL, computer science engineer and professional golfer, credits his achievements to the positive attitude of the local people and the tough course conditions. He was ranked number two in the Indian amateur tour, was a member of the Indian team for the World Amateur Golf Championship (The Eisenhower Cup) in Mexico and Nomura Cup in Malaysia.

“The small greens help us sharpen our short game, which is well maintained and plays true. The player-friendly management oblige to every request such as setting up a turf and making bays to practice for players like us who have taken the sport seriously,” he said.

Harish K, a self-taught professional golfer, says it was because of the ability of members to spot talent and their unconditional support that made him choose golf for a livelihood.

“I come from a humble background. I was found swinging with a stick on an empty patch behind the course when a few members decided to encourage and support me. Later ṁon, coach Sudarshan helped me hone the skills required to reach this far. Mysore has an optimistic soul like no other and that’s the reason we are doing well on all tours” says Harish, a regular member of PGTI since 2006 with many top-10 finishes.

 

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