They were simply the dreams of a five-year-old besotted with golf. He would chip the ball into a bucket from the bouncy mudflat of his aangan, or courtyard. His bunker practice was out of a tasla (a shallow iron bowl) filled with sand. He would spend hours practising with a single golf club donated to him, on a narrow strip of grass along their home’s front wall in which his dad had punched three holes.
This is how the world’s new junior golf champion started learning his game less than five years ago, in a village in Haryana. The son of a milkman, Shubham Jaglan, now 10, followed international golf on tapes and Internet videos when he could get a turn at the cyber café. On weekends, his best time of the week, his father would drive him to Karnal, an hour away from his village Israna, to play at the golf range there. Jaglan won two global golf championships in a matter of weeks earlier this month—the Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego, US, and the World Stars of Junior Golf Tournament in Las Vegas—putting the spotlight on golf at the grass roots.
Indian junior golf needs course correction
“I used to be with the Golf Foundation at that point in time (at around age 5), we were working with underprivileged kids, and my responsibilities involved scouting for new talent and training the kids,” recalls his coach and mentor Nonita Lal Qureshi. “I saw his name pop up as a clear winner in a number of junior events that I was tracking. That was when I established contact with him.” And this is how the New Delhi-based Golf Foundation decided to fund him.
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