Nepali Times
Tee Break
Start ’em young


Just as we realise the need to start interacting with, and educating our children at very young ages, excelling or building a future in sports is best done early in life.

One can see that in Nepal, excelling in team sports has been difficult as infrastructure and training resources are limited. We find that individual sports are where Nepalis achieve worldwide recognition and excellence. A person's will and tenacity can provide the drive to succeed alone, as opposed to having to depend on a whole team and all the back up services and resources that a team needs to excel.

With such a vision, the Sports Council in the 1970s encouraged individual sports such as Tae Kwon Do. The results of this foresight and investment in the future of individual sports are apparent with today's successes. When I was a young golfer, I had plenty of ambition. However, in those days, there were no proper training facilities or competitions that could improve my game. The support I received was mostly from individuals, because going abroad to play in tournaments or training was unaffordable. While there is no point looking back ruefully, the past is a lesson for the future.

Sports rarely develop on a national level with just the support of that sport's fraternity. This is very much the case with golf that receives little recognition and no support from Nepal's sports authorities. For the development of this or any sport, youth must be supported with organised training programs and opportunities.

It is vital to expose more young people to individual sports and encourage them to be future stars by providing training opportunities and facilities. A few months ago, the Royal Nepal Golf Club brought in a renowned regional golf instructor, Ajay Gupta, to teach youngsters, lay the foundations of the sport and to raise the standard of the game. Similarly, with the support of Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, I, along with other professionals, have been promoting the sport in schools for children between the ages of 10 and 16. These kinds of programs raise awareness about the sport among both the youth and educational institutions. Talented and interested youngsters are given the chance to try their hand at it and perhaps even flourish.

A future in the sport is quite lucrative. If one has talent and works hard enough, there are a host of opportunities at professional tournaments like the regional Indian PGA tour, the Asian & European PGA tours and the most coveted United Stated PGA Tour with a total prize money in excess of $200 million a year! Golfers from any part of the world can participate in any of these tours. You just have to be good enough to qualify.

Nepali professional golfers playing on the world money tours is not going to happen overnight. It certainly won't be easy for an individual to go it alone. The players need the support of integrated plans from all the golf clubs and sustained commitment. The golf clubs should unite, and through Nepal's Golf governing body, solicit maximum cooperation and help from the Sports Council to promote golf among young Nepalis.

Let us facilitate and encourage educational institutions to participate. Young people should take up this wonderful sport. Nepal can produce champions.

Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Head Golf Professional at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)