Courses closed, golf training badly hit by 2nd wave of Covid

COVID-19 Sports

Online coaching not the best way to train: Golfers

Chandigarh: The closure of the Chandigarh Golf Course and practice range due to the lockdown imposed following the second wave of Covid-19 has impacted the training of golfers in the city.

Speaking to The Observer, Durlab Sidhu, a golfer who trains at the Sector 6 golf range, said: “The range is closed, so now we have to catch up at home. I try and practise my pitching in a nearby park.”

Golf, a game that requires a player to work on their body postures, demands constant drills. “The training can just not be the same at home. The skill takes a hit. The next time we are allowed to hit the course and train, my body will take time to adjust and get back to its old shape,” Sidhu added.

The pandemic has hit amateur golfers more than professionals since they lack advanced facilities and guidance from coaches.

Luv Gupta, an amateur golfer at the Chandigarh Golf Range, said: “I recently started playing golf. Now, without practice, my learning will be affected over time.” Gupta has not tried taking online coaching.

Gursimran Singh Sethi, a former professional who coaches at the Panchkula and Chandigarh golf ranges, said: “We as professionals followed all safety guidelines. But the situation in the country demanded that activities be shut. It all depends on players as to how they come out of the current situation. Even at home players can practise basics like shadow swinging and pitching.”

Like most sports coaches, Sethi has tried to stay connected with his students via online sessions, but he feels the exercise has not been of much use. “Only a few people have the means and facilities to take online training. So it has been very limited so far,” he shared. 

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had ordered sports complexes and facilities across the Union territory to be closed from April 19 due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

“We had to close the Chandigarh Golf Range from May 1. All activities have been halted since then. Our hands are tied. All we can do is hope to wait for the situation to normalize,” said Sanjeev Azad, secretary, Chandigarh Golf Association.

Another set of professionals affected due to the pandemic is the caddies at the Golf Club. The caddies, who carry kit bags for golfers during a game, are paid nominal wages for their services, ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 280 per game. With no games happening at the course, a significant source of income for caddies has been hit.

As reported in The Tribune on May 19, the Chandigarh Golf Club has taken the initiative to help them out during the pandemic. President Ravibir Singh said the club has started transferring monetary help to the bank accounts of caddies employed by the club.

Chandigarh is not the only city whose golf fraternity has been hit because of the pandemic. The Indian Golf Union has cancelled nine tournaments across cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Golfers are hoping a reduction in Covid cases will lead to restrictions imposed on golf ranges and courses being lifted, so that they can practise and participate in tournaments.

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