Buoyed by govt support IGU focusses on growing the game and creating more opportunities -

Buoyed by govt support IGU focusses on growing the game and creating more opportunities

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Major General Bibhuti Bhushan, DG of the Indian Golf Union, Mr. Jim Van, Master Trainer CPG, Mr. Brijinder SIngh, President IGU, Mr S K Sharma, Chairman HIO, and Mr. Manav Das, In charge NGAI.

 Khel Today Bureau 

New Delhi: Buoyed by the recent success of its young Indian amateurs, the Indian Golf Union, which has also been receiving active support and funding from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, has spread its activities to ‘Training the Trainers’ and ‘Growing the Game’.

The support from the government for the game of golf has been a big boost for the IGU. The Sports Ministry has been very generous in backing the golfers ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris.

The IGU, which is an affiliate member of the Confederation of Professional Golf (CPG), an association of National PGAs, has through its wing, the National Golf Academy of India (NGAI), also brought in an international trainer to have special sessions to update their teaching professionals and coaches to update and upgrade their knowledge.

The IGU also has the active support of the Royal and Ancient, the world’s governing body for golf, in growing the game. The IGU is now holding programmes in various parts of the country, including the North-East, to ‘grow the game’.

Brijinder Singh addressing the Media.

“We have spent more than a year in creating a base and have had fair success in raising funds and are in process of getting more funds through sponsors and through our own activities like creating an Indian Golf Premier League (IGPL),” said Brijinder Singh, President of the IGU.

“Time and again, we have been told at international meetings how the fraternity looks at India to grow the game in the region. We have the numbers, we have a coaches certification system and now with the programmes to ‘Teaching our teachers’ and getting more people to play the game, we are hopeful in next few years, India will be a golfing force.

He added, “Our aim is to get golf into programmes like the popular ‘Khelo India Games’ and to make golf as part of the curriculum in schools. To that end we have had great feedback and sports are open to the idea.”

The IGU also revealed that the CPG has sent Master Trainers for Indian coaches, assistant teachers and officials for a three-day workshop which concludes on Monday. This is one of the biggest programmes undertaken by the NGAI, which the IGU set up almost two decades ago. Former India golfer, Manav Das is guiding the NGAI through it.

Mr. S K Sharma, Chairman of IGU’s flagship event, the Hero Indian Open, added, “These programmes will ensure that youngsters get the opportunities on their home turf. In the absence of quality coaches, the young golfers often come to bigger cities like Delhi, Chandigarh and the same is the case in Southern India and other parts. We want them to have coaches near their homes. We must get courses to give us facilities and once we have more quality coaches through interactions with CPG, the game will grow and that could be a game changer.”

Highlighting the performance of India’s amateurs, Major General Bibhuti Bhushan, the Director-General of the IGU, said, “Our amateur stars have done us proud, like Avani Prashanth who won the individual honours at the Queen Sirikit Cup and was fourth at the World Amateur Team Championships. She also won a pro event in Europe and was second at the Royal Junior Cup. She has a great future.

“Among boys we have Kartik Singh, who was the youngest to make the cut last year at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championships in Australia.”

He added, “The IGU is thankful to the government, who are funding our golfers to events ahead of the Olympics. All four of our top pros have been put on TOPS (The Olympic Podium Scheme) and the IGU has been in touch with TOPS and the government, and we are thrilled with the support.”

IGU and NGAI association with the CPG and its programmes

The IGU is associated with the Confederation of Professional Golf (CPG), which is an association of National PGAs. It is based on the guiding principles of Togetherness, Collaboration and Development to provide a collective voice and opportunities for the benefit of the game.

The NGAI is the Official Body for Certification of Golf Teachers in India and teachers from the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka also come for certification to India. Since its inception in 2004 the NGAI has accredited almost 600 teaching professionals.

Olympic Team preparation

India’s leading golfers Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar are set to make their Olympic grade and make their debut in Paris 2024 and will be among the 60 professionals teeing off in August at the Le Golf National. In the women’s section Aditi Ashok is set for her third Olympic appearance and Diksha Dagar for her second.

They have all been supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports’ Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

IGU in good financial health

The DG of the IGU said the organisation is financially strong and well placed to promote its development programmes. The IGU is also raising funds from international bodies and through activities like the Indian Golf Premier League.

National Squad

The IGU has formed its National Squads from which the selection committee picks teams for various events and this is an ongoing process and squads get updated regularly based on performances. The IGU also receives  government support to send more and more teams abroad for exposure.

The domestic IGU circuits are in full swing and  numerous competitions are happening and the number of golfers in each of the events is going up, indicating growing interest.

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