The National Golf Foundation based in the US, reports that the number of women playing golf increased from 19% a decade ago to 25% in 2021. The number of female junior golfers has increased even more, from 15% in 2000 to more than 35%, at 1.1 million, today.
Although in India, the stats fail to sound as optimistic considering how we only have 20 to 30 women golfers representing the country. It is imperative to bring a dynamic change in these numbers to not only give our girls a platform to prove the masses wrong but to also make golf a lucrative career option for women in India.
As we commemorate the second edition of the Delhi Golf Club Open this year, it fills me with immense nostalgia to come back to where it all started for my golfing career. Recently, women golfers have taken the onus to put India on the world map but initiatives such as the Golf Clinic for young aspiring golfers to embrace the sport at the DGC Open 2023, will help in the growth of these aspiring golfers and help them fast track their dreams of following in the footsteps of their idols.
I am glad I can play a role in making a difference in fueling the fire of a sport that has not become mainstream in a country like India.
Gender parity in Golf
Celebrating the Prime Minister’s mantra, “Khelega India Toh Khilega India”, it should be noted how 43% of Indian athletes who had qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics were women.
As a result of Aditi Ashok's close call with a medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, golf, especially for women, has continued to become increasingly popular in India. Following her lead, players like Diksha Dagar, Tvesa Malik and Sharmila Nicollet have been continuously making the nation proud with their numerous accolades in the sport.
The 25 girls who took part in Mastercard’s Golf Clinic were motivated to learn more. Efforts such as this by brands must be commended because of the impact it has made for passionate women in a sport that isn’t widely played in India. Golf can also be made more accessible to women through ‘women-only’ golf courses which reinforce the idea of security and liberty of playing the game in a safe space. While there is a long way to go to ensure accessibility for the masses, this is an opportunity to create a larger platform and acceptance for them to aim for the higher echelons of the game.
Packed with health benefits, the sport is proven to improve heart and mental health owing to its physically intensive aspect which keeps both the mind and body active.
Played individually or in a team, the sport is suitable for all. Hence, expanding the horizons of golf in India would not only be an effort to improve the mental and physical health of the nation but also encourage team spirit and build conviviality through sportsmanship.
Shiv Kapur is a recipient of Arjuna awardee and Indian Pro Golfer. Views expressed by the author are their own.
Suggested Reading: How 8-Year-Old Ridhima Kapoor Found Her Rhythm In Golf