Pune has been a traditionally rich reservoir of golf, largely owing to its connection with the armed forces. Oxford Golf and Country Club took the game several notches up by investing in a world class championship golf course overlooking the Sahyadri mountains.
Anirudha Seolekar is at the forefront of this development, leading the facilities at Oxford with great passion and commitment. He has been instrumental in establishing a partnership with David Leadbetter to bring a world class training academy to India.
Golfing Indian’s Anand Datla caught up with Anirudha, also known among friends as Anil about the road ahead for Oxford and the state of the game in India.
1. Golf is at an interesting stage in India. What are the specific things you notice at Oxford that point to a bright future for the game in India?
Due to introduction of Golf in the Olympics in 2016, the entire mind set, thinking and outlook changed to the sports. To capitalize this is imperative. with David Leadbetter Academy we have initiated talk with 6 schools and 3 Universities with an aim and effort to promote the game at grass root level. To influence the youth to game of Golf we are setting up facility at the School with our pro coaching team members going and introducing golf to students in their backyard.
JUNIOR GOLF PUSH
At Oxford we see growing number of corporate and aspiring parents who want their children to be introduced to this game and have been visiting in the last few days and involving their kids in the game of golf, since this new initiative.
2. Can you give us a sense of the mix of people that learn the craft at Oxford? Do you perceive it to be a vocation for the rich or is your experience at the club more democratic in terms of the spread of golfers?
The mix of peoples is mainly the middle class segment now , to see this sport for their children as a great character building and improving PR & develop an optimistic outlook to life.
It is definitely for the upper middle class for both working parents being introduced to the sport themselves and their children.
3. What has been the trigger for Oxford to initiate a partnership with the Leadbetter Academy?
The idea of partnership with Leadbetter Academy was purely to create a very professional environment driven training processes run professionally and not individually , along with their proven training methods being for existing golfers and one for new golfers with engagement on and off with the golf along with Leadbetter Technology wherein the students connected to the their coach via smart phone constantly as they’ improve their game from any locations.
GROWING THE GAME IN PUNE
A lot of thought has gone into the approach and we expect exponential growth not only in the city of Pune but also other major golfing cities of the country.
4. How do you see this affect the growth of golf at Oxford and in Pune?
To give by numbers we have about 3000 registered IGU members and 2000 active members in the city of Pune. Oxford has 1200 members currently and we are expected to grow this upto 1800 within this year. Golf is definitely growing due to residential townships coming up in Pune with 9 Hole Golf facilities.
5. Can you share some insight on the proposed academy and the nature of training on offer?
The Academy programs feature in helping in improving on individual potential to get better whether a professional, beginner, week end golfers there is a program for you. Our specific training is holistic approach and not one dimension.
The nature of training is heavily personalized and will have full involvement, care and interest for the individual.
6. What is the extent of Leadbetter’s direct involvement with the program? How often do you expect to see him in Pune?
One of the Leadbetter Academy Senior Director, Mr. Laurence Brotheridge is with Leadbetter. He has been there over a decade. In fact he has been trained to detailed attention for the program. We are offering a direct influence from David Leadbetter himself.
TAKING IT AHEAD
We are also planning to set up academy in different golfing region over the next few years and we are looking at the coming to India very often once the programmes take off at the various academy at different region.