Armed and Fabulous: Sharmila Nicollet
Sharmila Nicolett had stunned her hecklers on winning her first amateur tournament in India at 15- her most memorable win- and things just went uphill for this firebrand. And now, at 22 years-old, this girl who she is the youngest Indian woman to have qualified for the Ladies European Tour.
She laid her hands on the putter at 11, and 11 years down, she has total of 11 wins in diverse tournaments. And this sentence is as much poetic justice as the turn of events that led her up to it. A journey littered with being stereotyped every step of the way – from being considered ‘too playful’ at 11, and ‘too glamorous’ at 22 – she asserted her priorities to skeptics by taking those cues to up her game. She turned pro as an 18 year old, on the WGA India Tour. With a full tour card for the Ladies European Tour, she’s all set.
Women’s Golfing is on its way to the mainstream, with players like herself, Anisha Padukone, Raksha Phadke making news every so often. Nicollet speaks to Archana Shenoy of Ritz, about the importance of being not just the face, but the personality of today’s malleable Indian Golfing scenario. “Golfing is growing very fast with increasing professionals and competition, with an enhanced schedule and a higher purse for the coming WGAI season.”
She held her ground in the face of the other pessimism hurled at her, that she is too glamorous for the golf course for her own good. “People mistake me for a model, but I know my priorities and I won’t stray away. I love ‘bling’ and loud colors matched with my hair, nails, golf bag, clothing, everything.”
[Picture Credits: Deccan Chronicle ]
She says that staying fashionable on as well as off the court is a personal choice. And quite a judicious one, at that, because additionally, it will be nothing but conducive to the overall personality of golfing in India. “A golfer with a good/ decent game in the top ranks who is stylish with looks on her side can change the face of the sport. It attracts a lot of people ignorant about the game, and sponsors as well.” She wants to emulate players like Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal, to give a facelift to golf in the country.
She sees herself at nothing less than Number One in the Indian Golfing Space, in the next five years, and eventually at the world No. 1 pedestal. She feels that the logistical hurdles in the way, like disproportionate footage granted to women’s golf in terms of media coverage, number of tournaments, and kind of prize money, needs to be smoothed out, for Golf and women to go hand in hand in the country.
“And with me and a few other girls from India having the opportunity to start doing well internationally, it will encourage more girls to take up golf.” Her message to young women aspirants everywhere- Dream big. Aim for the sky. Work hard to attain consistency and precision. She believes, if she could do it, so can anyone else.
As told to Archana Shenoy for Ritz Magazine.