A couple of years ago, when Akhila, a State-level shot putter in Telangana, told her parents she was trying out golf, they did not know what that was.
“They did not know anything about golf, I had to show them YouTube videos and pictures to make them understand,” said Akhila, a farmer’s daughter who is now playing the IGU Synthite-CIAL South Zone Golf Tour event, in a chat with The Hindu at the CIAL Golf Club in Nedumbassery, on Saturday.
There are others too. Like Naveena, daughter of an auto driver and a former district-level sprinter, Pragathi, who had been good at kho kho earlier, and Mukul, who had been a decent cricketer at school. In fact, there are 11 of them in action here. All of them are from the golf academy run by the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) in Hyderabad.
“This society is run by the Government of Telangana under the Social Welfare Department. We have 451 such residential schools and we have designated some of these schools as sports academies, one such school has been designated for golf,” said Ronald Rose, the secretary of TSWREIS, from Hyderabad.
“The whole idea of setting up these academies is to train underprivileged kids with proper coaches and offer them exposure at different tournaments.”
With coach Bhaskar Samuel guiding them, they train on a part of a football ground converted to help them with putting and driving.
And that is changing their world.
It’s about a year since these children, between 13 and 15, started playing tournaments and they are now making a mark, posting decent performances here. One of them, Anusha, produced a hole-in-one in a Bengaluru tournament earlier this year.
“Golf will change our lives...we want to become professional golfers,” said Pragathi. “We want to become like Aditi Ashok and Shubankar Sharma.”