Searching for new heroes

Sat 15 Mar 2014

Searching for new heroes

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Heroes come at the most unlikeliest of places.
Obviously in golf, the only place to find a true champion is by judging his or her talent and skills on the golf course.
In hindsight, a talented golfer will easily be noticed at a driving range, striking ball after ball. The golfer’s swing is fluid and rhythmic and there may be a small crowd watching this young golfer put on a show.
But what’s the history behind this golfer? Did he or she start golfing at a young age with proper training and golf equipment?
A talented golfer can be nurtured from a young age regardless of where he comes from. In Myanmar, I have tried my utmost best to provide better golf equipment for juniors and some proper training.
I believe that everyone should be given a chance to learn this great game and hopefully the small gesture which I’ve afforded to them will eventually reward my country with another great golfer that will put our nation on the golfing map again.
Asia does not have to look far for inspiration. S.S.P. Chowrasia of India is the son of a greenskeeper at Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
He picked up the game at the age of 10 and is a self-taught golfer. Despite growing up at the club, he was not afforded with the luxury to play on the course. Through his own efforts and steely determination, which includes climbing over the club walls to play some holes, Chowrasia has since made a name for himself by winning two Asian Tour titles.
Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman is another name that many golf fans in India will remember and know as he recently won the Hero Indian Open for his second Asian Tour title at the venerable Delhi Golf Club.
His rags-to-riches tale is something out of a Bollywood book. He started playing the game by sharing with his friends a seven-iron head attached to a metal rod and from there, he rose from the ranks of a forecaddie into one of the most well-known and popular players on the Asian Tour.
Such has been his rise that Siddikur has finished in the top-10 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit in three of the last four seasons and has also qualified to represent Team Asia in the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM against Europe in Malaysia in March.
These are some of the names who have been transformed into elite golfers by their own blood, sweat and tears. What about those who possess the same talents as Chowrasia and Siddikur but have struggled to make the grade?
Golf equipment companies can play a huge role by providing the latest cutting edge technology golf clubs and balls. Golf associations also have a role to play where they must give every young player the guidance and opportunity to train with the right equipment.
Talented and successful golfers must also consider setting up their own academy and coax their sponsors to help nurture and promote golf to the younger generation.
I sincerely applaud some of our Asian Tour stars like Thongchai Jaidee, who has an academy in Lopburi, Thailand and Liang Wen-chong of China who has been in the forefront to help young golfers in his country.
For golf to become popular in a country, all sectors must come together with a common goal.
Yes, golf is a very individualistic game but everyone has to play their part to ensure that more and more talents take up the game of golf and go on to become international stars.
Ends.