Kapurthala (Punjab), June 10 : Punjab has produced many hockey players in the past who have excelled themselves. Now many youngsters here have taken to Golf.
The recent success of 14-year-old Arshbir Saini of Kapurthala district who recently won the 29th Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championship title in the Philippines bespeaks the latest happening in Punjab's sports arena.
Arshbir, who represents Punjab in the national golf tournaments, during his first international tour was declared Champion' in Class B Boys category.
For many youngsters of his age, Arshbir has today become a major inspiration and role model. And, the teenager also wishes to popularise Golf in Punjab.
Arshbir says that his ultimate aim is to represent India in golf to bring laurels to the country as Tiger Woods did for America. He wants his country to become the champion in golf.
Asked about how he first took to playing Golf, Arshbir Saini, said: "I started playing golf four years ago. Earlier, my father used to play golf and I would accompany him during the weekends. Once my golfer friend Gaganjeet Bhullar's father watched me playing golf and suggested to my father to motivate me for professional golf. Since then I started playing golf on his suggestion."
Arshbir has so far played in 30 tournaments and been on 1st and the 2nd position in many of them. He practices at the RCF Golf Club in Kapurthala, the 18-hole course located in the sprawling Rail Coach Factory complex in Punjab.
Set up in 1989, the 115-acre facility has soft and sandy fairways marked by trees, which not only add to its lush ambience but also makes it one of the most challenging golf courses in north India.
For Arshbir's family, the national game hockey has been a traditional sport. But Golf is something new and undiscovered for most of them.
Balwainder Singh, Arshbir's father, says: "I wanted him to take up hockey because Hockey has been our family tradition. My brother Baljeet Singh Saini played international Hockey, whereas the other brother Manjit Singh Dara is based in Calcutta and plays hockey for the customs department. We never thought about golf. But, on the suggestion of Bhullar, we allowed him to take on golf."
Once dominated by the socialites, Golf is emerging as a bright career in small cities, especially in the Kapurthala district, as a fresh crop of talent is flocking the golf clubs with new hope and dreams. They believe just like Hockey, Golf will soon draw sponsors for the right support.
The existing infrastructure and facilities is adding fillip to its popularity and fascination, making it an inspiration for teenagers to become the world popular Golfers Tiger Woods and Jeev Milkha Singh. By Avtar Singh