INDIA’S TOP PROFESSIONAL GOLFER – DIGVIJAY SINGH
Digvijay Singh has been one of India’s top Professional Golfer since the past 15 years and currently plays on the PGTI and Asian Tour. It is said that he started playing scratch in less than 2 years after he first started playing golf.
He had a solid amateur campaign and was in the National Indian Amateur Team for 4 consecutive years(1995, 96, 97, 98) before turning pro in 99. He also represented India in the Asian Games in Bangkok in 98.
As a professional,Singh currently holds 12 career wins on the PGTI, where he has had most of his success. He played his first full season on the Asian Tour in 2008 and finished 4th in his Asian Tour Debut at the Indian Masters. His first Asian Tour victory came in 2012 when he won the Panasonic open.
Those who know Digvijay closely, say that he is full of life and is fun to be with, on and off the golf course. He is one of the most adventurous Indian Professional Golfers and inspite of having such a successful golf career, he takes out time to indulge in various recreational activities like Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, Parasailing and Shooting. Digvijay Singh also happens to be the brother of Bollywood actress Chitrangada Singh.
Here are the excerpts for his Interview with our Golf specific correspondent, Mr. Ritesh Sinha:
Q.1.Firstly, I’ll request you to tell us a little about yourself, your family background. Why and how you started playing golf and the challenges you faced along the way?
I started golf because of Jyoti. We were bench mates in school and he introduced me to the sport. I used to swim before that and used to do a little bit of horse riding. However, I didn’t have my focus on a single sport until 12th grade, which is when I started playing golf.
Q.2.What motivated you to become a professional golfer?
I initially wanted to join the Army but my Achilles heel,which is mathematics prevented me from clearing my NDA exams. Due to this I couldn’t even crack the IMA exam. However by that time I had started playing decent golf and had made it to the Indian team in 1995, 96, 97, 98 and 99. From then on, one thing led to another and since I really liked the sport, I decided to turn pro.
Q.3.How bright according to you, is the Future of Golf In India?
The Indian golf union, which is the primary organization responsible for the development of Golf in the Nation, is doing a commendable job and the pace at which golf is growing in the country is incredible. Its inclusion in the 2016 Olympics is a huge achievement and might play a huge role in increasing its popularity in the future.
Q.4 Do professional Golfers in the Country get to play enough tournaments?
Currently the PGTI hosts roughly 20 tournaments annually which is not bad but an ideal situation would be where the pros get to play about 40-45 tournaments every year.
Q.5.Golf is considered to be a rich man’s game and the general public is completely estranged to the sport. How do you think the game can be brought to the masses?
The reason why Golf isn’t too popular is because it’s not really a spectator friendly sportand we come from a country where cricket is ruling the roots. We need to change the mindset of the people and for that the government needs to step in and make more public courses in the country. Here, the only public golf course is Qutub Golf Course whereas In America there are thousands of Public Courses and that too, top quality ones. The main difference between the two is that of the cost of playing a round, which is tenfold more in a private golf course as compared to a public one. Since public golf courses are much more affordable to play in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that they aren’t good. In a public golf course, all you have to do is pay 200 bucks and you can enjoy a round of golf, this is not the case in private golf courses where one has to pay anything between 20-60 lakhs just for membership.
And the fact that the sport has been included in the Olympics gives the new government all the more reasons to take the development of golf in the country in their own hands, and there is only one solution to this issue- PUBLIC GOLF COURSES.
Q.6. What do you think of Golf as a career option? Given the chance to go back a few years would you have treaded the same path?
I personally think that being a professional Golfer is an amazing experience. I get to travel across the world, socialize with professionals from across the globe and most importantly, I get to do what I love the most. I wouldn’t have changed a thing even if I could but what I would like to have 20 years ago is the knowledge I have now. With the knowledge readily available on the internet, playing and learning golf has become much easier. When I started playing Golf, it was all trial and error. Only the very experienced players knew the tricks and secrets that lie behind the golf swing. But now, the upcoming youngsters probably know as much or maybe even more than me because of the easily accessible information available through the internet.
Q.8.What secrets would you like to share to be a successful player?
In order to be successful, one has to bend his back backwards. No matter what you do, be sure to give it your 100% and amidst all the challenges and work, don’t forget to have fun.