It feels great to be back walking the fairways after a gap of five months !!

It feels great to be back walking the fairways after a gap of five months !!

“It’s longer than expected.” That’s the phrase I would like to use to describe the recent situation for women golfers in our country.
In the last 17 months, Indian golfers competing in the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour (HWPGT) had gone through one of the worst times that one could imagine where they were unsure of what the future holds.

Let us explain the chronology of the last 17 months.
Till 2019, the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) was conducting tournaments almost regularly but from the early part of 2020, the quick spread of the deadly pandemic changed everything within a couple of weeks.
WGAI did stage events till March 2020 but after that, from April 2020 almost everyone was forced to stay home following a nationwide lockdown, imposed across the country for the next four months.

From June 2020, while Korean LPGA launched its event, India was ending its lockdown state-wise. However, it was only in December 2020, the post-pandemic first tournament of the season - Leg 7 was held. WGAI had organized a total of nine tournaments in 2020 which included three events in December and six events in the early part of the year.
Golfers started a new year – 2021 hoping for a fabulous season. The first Hero WPGT event of 2021 was Leg 1, played from 13-15 January, Ridhima Dilawari won the event. Pranavi Urs won the next event.
In the next three events, three players Avani Prashanth, Seher Atwal, Jahanvi Bakshi had their first maiden victory in Leg 3, 4, 5 respectively. Jahanvi won Leg 5 on 12th March 2021.

From the second quarter of 2021, India was hit by the second wave of Covid 19 hence the tour was stopped for an indefinite period. All WPGT events were stopped following a quick spread of the second wave from March 2021, the same as March 2020.
It was a hard time for the players. Unfortunately, some of the players contracted Corona while some who survived Covid were gazing at an uncertain future.
At last, the tour was resumed for the second time in two years. The last time it took seven months to restart the tour was in December 2020. This time the tour took five months to resume play from September 2021.
The WGAI have planned to play five events from September to October 2021, the first event after March 2021 is Leg 7 in WPGT.

It’s an exhilarating feeling for the players.

“It surely is a fantastic feeling to compete after such a long break, just to be walking the fairways again bathed in the sun. I think we’re all aware of the physical and mental health benefits golf can provide, unfortunately, due to COVID tournaments got cancelled but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season! I’m coming out of a little bit of a shoulder injury- however I’m just happy to be playing again, to give it a shot and put my best into it” said Seher Atwal who won leg 4 in 2020.
When approached by DKT Sports, golfers were excited to share their experience during the lockdown phase and their plans for the current season.
Avani Prashanth, who won leg 3 in Feb 21, prepared herself for the season during the lockdown phase. “We have a home setup which includes a hitting mat, a Super strong net and my GCQUAD, FSX Golf simulator along with a putting mat. During the lockdown I practiced every day, played on virtual courses 3 times a week and worked on areas I needed to get better. I think I really made good use of this pandemic times. My lessons with my coach and fitness also continued throughout the lockdown. I also had set up a home gym so my routine for both fitness and golf was followed and I really don’t think I missed out on anything besides playing on the real course”, said Avani.

Seher could not escape Covid, was busy working on her game during the lockdown phase. ‘Post our last slew of tournaments, I had an extremely packed agenda working on different aspects of my game. My daily schedule was fairly punishing and when I finally took a break, it was because I really needed to hit refresh for myself and my mind. During that time though, I unfortunately contracted COVID myself which led to more time away from my game than I would have liked” said Seher.

Another player, Disha Kavery said she had her fitness sessions on during the lockdown period and she was regular with that.
It’s nice to be back said Disha, as players playing after a long time but it’s important to stay safe during these times. “I’m excited to play this event cause it’s happening in one of the most challenging golf courses”, said Disha.

For Seher, plenty of lessons were learnt from a difficult time. “I would like say I took some positives from the extended break I had due to my illness and feel extremely well rested now. I’ve had some time away which has allowed me to get back to the game with renewed focus. I’ve been putting in the time these last few weeks and feel like it’s all coming together well, nicely in time for the upcoming tournaments, said Seher in an emailed response to DKT Sports.
Avani is quite optimistic about the upcoming season. “The IGU has also planned an excellent calendar, the first tournament is right after I head back after playing the 8th and 9th Leg. Even though the amateur season has started, I will still continue to play in professional tour because I want to break into the Top 100 in WAGR by the end of 2021”, said Avani.

Disha too is prepared for the ongoing season. “I think I’ve done my work in the last 5 months and I am confident to play the event. We have 2 more tournaments after this so rest and be ready for the next events,” Disha told DKT Sports.

In all, women golfers are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for a better and trouble-free season ahead.


By Dhruv Trivedi

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September 01, 2021 in Golf

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