India’s top golfers returned to practice at course after weeks of inactivity owing to the the coronavirus pandemic. The golfers were were without their caddies, though, PTI reported.
At the Delhi Golf Club, Shiv Kapur was seen playing with old friend Gaurav Ghei.
Kapur and Ghei have both won at the DGC, have learnt all their golf at the famed course, situated at the heart of the national capital.
Both were masked up. There was no backslapping, no handshakes; just air-fives to acknowledge each other’s good shot. The players merely waved a goodbye after they were done. No snacks, coffee or juices were served.
Legendary sprinter Milkha Singh is yet to hit the course, but his son, Jeev Milkha, was there at the Chandigarh Golf Club with his friends.
Mikha Singh Jr was out there with Uttam Singh Mundy, former pro and now CEO of PGTI, Gurbaaz Mann, a former pro and Ajeetesh Sandhu, a regular on Asian and PGTI Tours. Maintaining social distance and wearing an assortment of masks, the players enjoyed rounds of golf.
Amritinder Singh, a former Asian Tour pro and now a swing coach for Jeev, accompanied all of them. Jeev said: “To be honest, it was most relaxing to be out and playing golf after such a long time. More than two months since I hit a ball. So a bit of rust, but nobody will mind that. We were just happy to be on a golf course.”
He added: “We knew what we were in for temperature check, sanitiser, one-cart-one-person, carts sanistised, no shaking hands, high-fives from far and maintaining social distance. We golfers are used to a lot of discipline, so respecting the ‘new’ rules in these times was part of that.
“Maybe what I missed was my Dad on the course, where he is a regular. But since he is 90, he was not allowed and he sure missed the action.
“There were no stunning shots. But everybody was really excited to be on the course after two months. A lot of funny shots were hit on the course but we were all grateful to be playing after a long time.”
With no caddies they have not been allowed back as yet at Chandigarh Golf Club since many of them come from containment zones - one person drove the cart with thee bags and others walked the course. “We are used to walking as pros, so that was perfect,” said Jeev.
Also hitting the course was Shubhankar Sharma with fellow pro, Karandeep Kochhar and Rohan Kathuria. “Just being back on a golf course was exhilarating,” said Sharma.
Ghei, whose first and most famous Asian Tour win - the Gadgil Western Masters - came at this course 25 years ago, said it was “ so strange” being away from the sport.
“It is the only thing I have done and it’s the thing I know best and it has been my livelihood for three decades. So it’s great to be back playing golf, even with rules that we never even thought of.”
Kapur said: “It’s not the golf I grew up with. But, this could be the new normal. Yet, I am happy being able to swing a club after such a long time.”