Rahul Ganapathy talks to BB about Golf coaching
for young kids and the associated benefits and
challenges of learning a sport.
Rahul Ganapathy is one of the finest professional golfers to emerge from South India in recent years. In an exclusive interview with BuzzingBubs, we chat with Rahul about the sport of Golf, the benefits of Golf coaching for kids, along with the life lessons that they can learn through the sport and the highly successful Junior Golf program that he currently runs at the Karnataka Golf Association in Bangalore.
Here is the transcript of our interview with Rahul Ganpathy. Please note that the transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity and is not verbatim.
BB: Rahul, could you briefly tell us about your journey with golf and achievements in the sport?
RG: I started Golf only at the age of 14, which is late by today’s standards where kids start as early as five! Once I started there was no looking back, I was a junior, amateur and professional champion by the age of 28. As a professional, I achieved feats such as
- Holding the lowest scoring record by a professional in India of 12 under par
- Being India’s No.1 professional in the year 2008.
- Winning multiple titles such as The Global Green Bangalore Open 2007, Solaris Chemtech Open 2008 and The AIS Golf Open 2008 presented by PGTI
BB: Could you tell us more about your kids and playing Golf with them from a Dad’s perspective?
RG: I have two sons aged 5 and 2 1⁄2 years. My elder son, Veer, started swinging the club as soon as he learned how to walk! He began coming to Golf practice with me and from a very early stage stunned everyone with his shots. Once I started teaching in 2010, he joined my coaching camp and has done very well. He has won 10 trophies in all and is my pride and joy.
The younger one, who is all of 2 and a half, is following in his brother’s footsteps and is already hitting the ball well. I love seeing my boys on the Golf course playing the game that I love. However there is no pressure on them and they can chose what they want to do with their careers.
BB: What according to you are the benefits of playing golf for kids? What are the important life lessons that children learn from the sport?
RG: Like any other sport playing Golf involves a lot of walking, which is very good for their physical health. Kids will get their Vitamin D which keeps them healthy for life. Golf helps them to improve their concentration when they focus on the ball and make a good swing.
Invaluable teachings of integrity, respect and perseverance are delivered to young ones through the game of Golf. When they first come to hit the ball they might not make contact but practice teaches them to be patient, work at it and believe in themselves. Also they have to be honest about their own score as there will be nobody to follow them around the course. They have to learn to be truthful to themselves. There’s a saying in Golf; “a cheat in Golf is a cheat in life”.
BB: How do you make the sport fun and easy to learn for the children especially the younger lot?
RG: I try to give them a break from the sport and I make them play other games and activities. We do quiz competitions about Golf. Sometimes we show them a Golf inspired movie that the kids usually love. They also get a healthy snack after they finish for the day. Basically I try and just let them be and discover the game in their own way with some structured guidance from myself.
BB: Could you tell us about the Junior Golf Programme run by you at the Karnataka Golf Association?
RG: The program is open to all kids (both members and guests) between the ages of 5 and 17. Coaching is for 8 hours per month and conducted on weekends with 2 hourly sessions in the mornings and afternoons. The students can select a batch of their convenience. Training is imparted on several areas of the sport such as the Long Game, Speciality Shots, Recovery Shots, Skill Challenges and Mental aspects of the game.
Along with Golf skills children also benefit from a fitness programme with assistance from the gym instructors of KGA. Kids are also taught basic rules of the game, upkeep of Golf equipment, strategy for tournaments and play etiquette on the golf course and in the club house. For all details regarding the Junior Golf Development Program you can contact the Karnataka Golf Association directly.
BB: What is your opinion on the current status and future of Golf in India?
RG: I have personally seen huge interest in the sport among children as young as five. Parents too are keen to encourage their children to become career golfers. Many junior players regularly compete in tournaments, both in India and abroad. In recent years, there has also been a rise in the number of tournaments held in the country. The major one’s being the Indian Open, which is the biggest tournament on the Asian Tour along with several other tournaments in Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
With the inclusion of Golf in the 2016 Summer Olympics, I pray and hope that one of our young stars will bring home a medal in the future. The game of Golf is in its budding stages in India; the future is only going to get brighter!