Apr 28, 2017: Sharmila Nicollet is the poster girl of Indian golf. While women’s golf acquired a life through the exploits of Smriti Mehra, Sharmila’s success helped popularize the game in India, drawing more young women to golf. In many ways, she has done to women’s golf what Sania Mirza did to tennis and Saina Nehwal did to badminton in India.
The eleven-time winner on the WGAI Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour has endured injury and loss of form in recent times, but seems set for a strong showing again in 2017. It has been five years since she made her first Ladies European Tour card, so she will be eager to regain her status as one of India’s foremost golfers.
Sharmila Nicollet is a golfer with rich cultural heritage. Her father Marc is from France, while mother Surekha is from Bengaluru. Marc is an information technology professional while Surekha runs a line of perfumes through Padmini Aroma Limited.
- Sharmila started playing golf at the age of 11. This was in the year 2002.
- Sharmila can speak French, English and 5 Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and Urdu).
- Interestingly, Nicollet was a state-level swimmer, collecting 72 medals in regional and national meets before she turned her attention to golf full-time. She also plays basketball, tennis and loves horse riding. She also plays the piano.
- She won her first golf tournament at the age of 14, by a whopping 15 shots.
- Sharmila represented India at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, when she was just 16 years old.
- She was also the youngest Lady Golfer to win the All-India Ladies Amateur Championship in 2007-2008. However, Gurbani Singh usurped the honour when she won as a 13 year old in 2009.
- Sharmila turned pro in 2009, at the age of 18.
- Sharmila Nicollet was the youngest Indian golfer to qualify for the Ladies European Tour, when she did so as a 20 year old. That mark has been eclipsed by Aditi Ashok, who roared through the gates as a prodigious 17 year old in 2016.
- Sharmila was also the only Indian to retain her Ladies European Tour (LET) card for two years. She shares this honour too now with Aditi.
- Sharmila’s role models in golf are Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
With inputs from Anand Datla