Home sweet home for Indian pro tour’s top earner

Despite his impressive earnings, Shamim has consistently avoided playing abroad. And the Delhi golfer has a good reason for this.

Shamim Khan in action at the Cochin Masters at Nedumbassery on Wednesday.   -  The Hindu

 

He is the big bucks man, the highest earner ever in the PGTI—the Indian pro golf tour. Shamim Khan has raked in more than Rs. 3 crore as prize-money since the tour came into existence a little more than ten years ago.

Blessed with a silky smooth swing, the Delhi golfer has won almost every event on the national circuit. His uncomplicated style has made him the most consistent golfer in the circuit and a top-10 finisher almost every season.

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Five months ago, Shamim pulled off a big surprise when he won the CG Open in Mumbai, a Rs. 1 crore event, and walked away with the top prize of Rs. 15 lakh. The 38-year-old, who won the Kolkata Classic a few days ago, also heads the PGTI’s Order of Merit this season.

Despite his impressive earnings, Shamim has consistently avoided playing abroad. And the Delhi golfer has a good reason for this.

“I am just being practical. When you play abroad, the expenses are heavy, your caddy’s expense, food, travel and other things so I felt it was not worth going abroad,” said Shamim on the sidelines of the PGTI Cochin Masters at the CIAL Golf Club on Wednesday.

NOT WORTH IT

“I have seen a lot of our pros going abroad and spending a lot of money. I did not want to waste so much, I consider spending it on my family and my children’s future as a better investment.”

Shamim did play the Singapore Open twice, after getting an invite, but realised that he was wasting precious cash.

“It cost me something like Rs 2.25 lakh each time there. And even if you play in Thailand, which is one of the cheapest golfing destinations, it will put you down by nearly 1.25 lakh.”

Indian golf has made much headway in the world rankings, with Anirban Lahiri making a big impact in the last few years. But that has not moved Shamim, for without playing in the international circuit, you cannot pick many points.

“It doesn’t make sense to play abroad because it’s so expensive,” he explained.

So, it’s home sweet home for Shamim who lives at Nizamuddin, just a stone’s throw away from the Delhi Golf Club, where his golf career began. His dad worked at the club and it did not take long for him to follow his father and elder brother Gulfam to toy with the sport.

He turned pro at 18 and now works on his golf for more than six hours at four centres, the DGC, Qutab Club at Lado Sarai, Noida GC and at the Siri Fort driving range.

The big world may not inspire him but as he sweats it out on the fairways and the greens in hot and humid conditions, the smiles of his children will help him march forward.