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Access to Govt Golf courses will unlock India’s Golf potential: Shiv Kapur - before THE OPEN

Posted by Admin 17 Jul 2017

After cashing his ticket to the forthcoming British Open, ace golfer Shiv Kapur shares his happiness in an exclusive ‘straight-from-the-heart’ chat with 4moles.



Life sans Golf has been inconceivable for Shiv Kapur who chose to tread the unexplored path and went on to conquer new vistas in Golf. This time his emergence as a best-in-class golfer came in the form of his recent win at the British Open Qualifying events held at the Woburn Golf Club in England. With this win, the 35-year-old golfer has set new standards of excellence in the Indian Golfing terrain. Not the one to rest on his laurels, the 35-year-old is already focusing on the next target - winning the Open that starts from July 20.


Armed with a demeanour that can only be described as low-key, Shiv Kapur exudes warmth and poise as he takes up our volley of questions. And the moment you strike a conversation with the star golfer, his intact composure amazes you.


Shiv Kapur in an exclusive interview with before the British Open



Since Kapur and Anirban Lahiri are the only two Indian golfers to have qualified for the forthcoming Open Championship, fans will expect them to win. So does that pressure hamper his natural game? “When you play in a major or a big tournament, there’s always a pressure. That’s what you play the game for. You are prepared for the pressure and you kind of welcome it. I think if there’s no pressure, there’s no excitement and there’s no eagerness to win. So I think it’s how you approach it. Of course, there’s pressure at every stage of your game. And bigger the tournament, more is the pressure. But for me it’s one of the biggest opportunity on a grander stage to prove myself,” says Kapur with an unusual candour.


On mentally preparing for competitions


In a highly competitive sports environment, overcoming mental pressures ahead of a tough game is no mean feat. Ask Kapur how does he mentally prepare for competitions and he quips with confidence, “I think the key is to treat it as an another tournament, another day, or yet another round of Golf. I believe you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on any one round or any single tournament. It usually doesn’t work very well as I have seen in the past. However big the tournament it is, I look forward to enjoying everything that comes along with the game. I always try to approach it as any other Golf tournament. My notion of the game is to play and not think of about the situation or circumstances.” Now that’s a great pearl of wisdom from the ace golfer.


The secret mantra to ride the crest of success


The 35-year-old golfer, who has been part of the field at the British Open in 2006 and 2013, is now all set to make his fifth Major appearance. And Kapur says ‘self-belief’ has paid off. Ask him what it takes to compete on the world stage and he states, “It’s just a question of backing and believing in yourself. I think there are many Golf players in India and around the world who are blessed with a lot of talent and ability but what separates the good from the great players is that they really egg themselves and believe in their own capability.


India has a higher percentage of professional golfers’


People believe that there are not too many professional golfers on the Indian circuit. So, how can India keep churning out more proficient golfers who can compete globally? “I have a contradictory view to this notion. I think we’ve a lot of professional golfers given the number of golfers we’ve in totality in our country. If you actually look at it as a percentage or proportion of total golfers, I think, unquestionably, we actually have a higher percentage of professional golfers. We are very lucky that we are one of the few countries in the world that have full-fledged top professionals where they can start as a stepping stone to move on to the bigger stage like the Asian Tour, the European Tour and beyond. So, I think we have a great platform over here. And we’ve a tour that consists of 25 or 30 events. I don’t think there are many countries in the world that can boast of a full-fledged tour for professionals,” says Kapur.



Make Golf affordable to make it accessible’


The lure of Golf in India is growing up fast and furious and is poised to grow at an unprecedented in India. But what his take on the lack of accessibility to the game and members-only course culture in India? “Well, I think that’s unfortunate. I have been saying this for years that Golf is an Olympic sport. You talk about a country filled with billion people and so much talent out there but the talent remains undiscovered because the general people do not have access to public Golf courses. We don’t have enough public Golf courses and public driving ranges. I understand there’s a restraint on space in bigger towns but at least there should be driving ranges. If you look at Korea or Japan, in between parking lots, they have driving ranges,” says Kapur.


Kapur adds that successful countries like America and the UK have a plethora of public Golf courses where the game is affordable. “Until the government takes enough steps to build and provide access to public Golf courses, we’re not going to unlock the potential we have in our country. There’s a need to more build public Golf courses and public driving ranges. Lado Sarai in Delhi is a great example in India. We need many such public Golf courses across many cities where a person can play the game by paying a mere 100 or 200 rupees. To make Golf accessible in India, you need to make it cost-effective first,” shares the 35-year-old golfer.


Shiv Kapur in an exclusive interview with before the British Open

Questions ‘off’ the course


Your most embarrassing moment...

“I was there in my white trousers while playing for an important tournament. The moment I bent down, I ripped my trousers all the way down. You can imagine how embarrassing it was for me.” (laughs).


Your fave Golf destination...

“Bulgaria as I have a very strong penchant towards that place. I am associated with a Lighthouse Golf and Spa Resort and own a bar there. The weather is perfect, the food is fantastic and the wine is great. So every summer, I spent a couple of weeks there to play Golf and hang out with my buddies.”


Your biggest competitor

“I think it’s everyone. You are not competing against a single player but actually competing against 156 players every week. It’s not like the game of tennis where you’ve to single out an opponent and you’ve to read their serve. The great thing about Golf, at the same time, is that you can play your own game and you kind of control your own destiny, your own score and not worry too much about what anyone else is doing.”


If not a golfer, what would have you been?

An investment banker.


Who should play Shiv Kapur, if a biopic is made on you?

(laughs) “It’s a very good one. I think I am the only one capable of playing it.”


Does your wife Maya enjoy your game? Are you her fave player?

(laughs) “Yes, I am my wife’s fave player as I am the only golfer she knows. She had no idea of Golf till she met me. I’d like to think that I am her fave player considering she doesn't know anything about the sport. But now she’s learnt a lot, she’s learnt how to read scoring. More importantly, she has learnt to gauge my mood and knows what to say and what not to say.”


Your life beyond Golf...

“I want to get more active in my Golf course design. I’ ve started doing some work on them and have a company called SK Designs. And that’s what I want to do beyond my golfing days. I feel like I want to give something back to the game and perhaps set up junior academies around the country in an effort to nurture the talent that’s untapped. I like talking about the game so perhaps, Commentary is something I can look forward to.”


By Priyanka Sen Sarkar

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    NAVJOT 11 months

    I couldn't agree more with Shiv on the point that "There’s a need to more build public Golf courses and public driving ranges." Until the government steps up and takes action to provide infrastructure for golf, the super talented golfers that we have in our 1.32 billion population won't get anywhere. Look at China again, they do have a number of players who represent the country in Olympics and world's best tours - LPGA, European tour

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    saloni 11 months

    Look forward to seeing a splendid performance by Shiv Kapur at the British Open :)

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