Golf’s growth in India truly lies in the hands of its teaching pros. Former players or pure teachers, these men and women are working with the next generation to ready them for the game. In our new series, Teacher Talk, we catch up with Nikki Ponnappa.
GI: Indian golf is clearly at the precipice of a great new era. As a teacher, where do you see the game go over the next decade?
NP: The next decade will see a lot of our young kids emerge in the world platform, we will see more kids participate in the World Junior event, the professional tours in India both the men and women will have an influx of fresh talent!!
GI: There are several exciting talents in India, all playing on some of the largest stages of golf. Their inspiration might help, but what do we really need to do to increase the pool of Indian golfers?
NP: Yes, we should feel proud of some of our players putting Indian Golf at the world stage, what we definitely need is a support system starting with golf Course allowing those who play this beautiful NOT just for pleasure, Golf Course and Golfing associations in India must work towards allowing accessibility and supporting golfers who play this game not leisure. Accessibility made easier would increase the pool of Indian Players. Whoever wants to play this game as their bread and butter must be allowed to do so without a begging bowl!!
GI: What do you think have been the biggest changes in golf over the past two decades?
NP: More children are playing this sport, I feel it’s the influx of grass root golf that has seen an increase in past two decades. Also our players like Anirban and Aditi who have both, by their performances encouraged and motivation those watching their performances, feel “if they can I can”
GI: How have you adapted your coaching methods to keep up with the changing trends in golf?
NP: The key is to understand everyone learns differently, keeping that in mind the three pillars of my training involves Technical Physical and Mental aspects. And that’s the trend in Golf today and has been forever!!!
Personally to me golf is a spiritual sport. I play it and teach it because I feel Golf teaches us so many LIFE lessons. Hence my approach to coaching is WHOLE – it includes training
- Golf Skills technical aspects
- Physical Skills – with the “Get Athletic” program.
- Mental Skills – meditation (which is different for different people) and aspects of NLP tabbing into the sub conscious.
GI: Who do you think are the promising young golfers in the country today? Can you name three boys and girls who you think have a bright future on the professional circuit?
NP: I would not want answer that questions with names, because you are as good as your last score. So apart from the juniors and pros who you know are on merit lists, there are juniors, amateurs & professionals who have started the journey, of making this sport their ALL. Therefore every kid, ever amateur and every pro who’s plays this sport, day in and day out are the ones to look out for, because with this game “you never know” just like LIFE!!
Nikkii Ponappa “Love, Live and Play Golf Fearlessly”