Despite its reputation of being a leisurely and relaxed activity, golf can be an incredibly addictive game. If you are already hooked to the game of golf, know which equipment to buy
Why is golf so addictive? The game is supposed to be a unique combination of challenges, satisfaction, social interaction, mental and physical benefits, competition, and as golfers vouch, it has the potential for lifelong learning.
Ever wondered what draws golfers to the golf course early in the morning and makes them spend hours on end at the golf course. Take the case of 49-year-old Delhi based finance professional Manu Kohli, who started playing about five years back. He says, “I was hesitant in the start as I felt where is fun in a game where you hit a ball and walk” and boy, I was so wrong. This is a game of skill and of patience, and one does get addicted to it.” He explains what draws a golfer to wake up at 4 in the morning and spend so many hours on the course, “It is the love of the game that makes you wake up at unearthly hours and go to play. The game is a true reflection of life with every day a new one, and your last day score has no relevance, and you start afresh. The thing that draws me every time to those lovely greens are nature, walking and friendships that you develop while playing the sport. Golf is not an easy game and it takes time to develop skill, though it will be different for different people but I would say it takes nearly a year to get used to the flow and techniques and as with all sports the more you practice and play the better you get !!!”
The game is funny, says Anil Seolekar, President of Golf Industry Association (GIA is a platform for golf courses and business vendors in the industry). He says, “There are only two things that can happen – either you get addicted to golf or you don’t. If you are a beginner and if you are coming to really understand the game, you might get frustrated. Till such time that you feel that the adrenaline is going to flow in a manner that you are hooked to the game, you should not purchase any golf equipment or make do with the economical Chinese and Korean variety. You should buy the premium stuff that is made by some Japanese and American manufacturers, once you are sure of your involvement in the game.”
A golf set can cost from Rs 50,000 till 15 lakhs and this can last 10-15 years or even a lifetime. Says Kunal Singhai – Co-founder Golfoy.com, an Indian online golf store, “There are usually 11 clubs in a golf set- Driver, Fairway Wood, Rescue, Irons 5,6,7,8,9 and Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge, Putter- all kept in a golf bag. Price range at Golfoy starts from 45,000 goes upto 5 lacs with an average range of Rs 1.5 lakh per set and the kids’ set starts from Rs 15,000.” He adds that their best seller is the training equipment which is not easily available. Golfers seek a perfectly suited golf set when buying for themselves which means it must have the correct grip, suitable head angle, shaft weights etc. They have recently launched an equipment selection guide where customers can select a right suited set for him or her by answering a few questions. The training equipment has been divided in various categories- from Putting training to Swing Correction to Warm Up Aids and Train grip which help in holding the club in the proper way. The customer can check out their weak areas and find a suitable product. Adds Singhai, “We have all golfing range from golf balls to golf sets to training equipment for new golfers from all brands such as TaylorMade, Titleist, Viper Golf, Callaway, Mizuno, Ping, Srixon etc. We have also launched Viper Golf – manufactured in India under PM Modi’s Make in India vision where we sell everything from golf gloves to shoes, apparels, equipment and much more.”
Different strokes for different folks. There is a club meant for everyone. According to Deepali Shah Gandhi, Director Zaverchand Sports Pvt Ltd, Mumbai based exclusive distributors of golf equipment in India, “I would say that different people require different types of clubs. Golf clubs are all based on aerodynamics. Unlike other sports where you will use the flip of a hand or spin of the wrist to move the direction in which you want to manoeuvre the ball, here it is the club that does it all for you. Basically, it depends on the type of your swing, age and your power. Some people will hit it low and others high. We are distributors of Titleist which makes clubs for people dedicated to golf in a price range from Rs 1 lakh to 3.5 lakhs. Your clubs may last a lifetime if you look after your clubs. Maintaining a club means that if the grip has become old, you must get it changed. Plus ensure that there is no moisture to the club. Always clean the club with a damp cloth.”
Myths and Facts
The biggest myth is that you need a lot of time and money to play golf, says Ateet Gaur Hon. Secretary, GIA Founder & MD, Trinity Golf India Pvt Ltd. He says- “You need not buy anything. Allow your interest to develop. Initially you can just use the public golf courses and pay and play and take all equipment on hire. You will get irons for Rs 100, and in less than Rs 500 you will get coaching and equipment. As you get hooked to the game, you can start buying and then there is a whole range of products available. You can buy a golf set for even Rs 30,000 just as a cricket enthusiast would buy a cricket bat for Rs 25,000. In terms of time, you can play 9 holes in 2 hours or go and practice at the driving range for one hour. It totally depends on your wish and convenience.” He narrates his story of how he started playing golf- “When I joined Adidas as a Country Manager for TaylorMade Adidas Golf in 2004, golf was alien to me. I thought that it was a boring game. But when I started playing, it gave me so much happiness. I would say it’s a personality development sport. You are not playing against anybody but only against yourself. In the same golf course, if you were playing 2 over one day, it is gratifying to do 10 the next day and even 20 after a few months. This is the only sport where your body, mind, soul -everything is working.”
Second myth is that people say golf doesn’t help burn calories. You normally have to walk a good seven kilometres in an average game. Moreover, it is akin to yoga as it leads to and also requires focus from the mind. It is a game that is all about mindfulness.
Third myth is that you have to sacrifice your sleep to play golf. Says Anil Seolekar, the Chairman and Owner of The Luxury Oxford Golf Resort at Pune, “I get up at 5 am simply because I love the game, but I don’t call it sacrifice. There is nothing like golf and it is the biggest equalizer – everyone from a man to a woman to a child, across age groups can play it. This is a game which if you love, you will play it and it is driven by passion.”
Gradually as the golfer gets interested, he can take coaching. Every city has coaches and as you grow in the game, you may not want to take on to the golf course and as they say “you get a handicap” if you don’t know how to play and match up to others. That is when you can invest in getting yourself trained to understand the game.
Those who become trained then even play golf matches. They even travel together to different cities and countries as a group to play golf tournaments. There are multiple leagues happening at any given point of time. Says Ateet Gaur, “I have started a league called Trinity golf championship league in association with Kapil Dev. We did 4 cities namely Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata and had 25 players in each team across professional male, professional female and handicapped players. There are multiple formats in golf where you make a team and play with each other and there is a great bonding golfers have over the game.”
The biggest grouse of people is premium access to the golf courses. Golf Industry Association (GIA), a not-for-profit organization, has been working towards promoting the game, lobbying for establishment of golf courses, facilitating government interactions for import concessions, attracting investments for new golf courses and clubs, and fostering golf tourism in India. Says GIA President Anil Seolekar, “The army has 80-90% of India’s golf courses. Somewhere down the line they don’t allow private or foreigners. Can we use golf courses and put them into public use? The best model of opening access is creation of public golf courses such as Qutab golf course by DDA and the upcoming one in Dwarka where there will be 3 year, 5 year memberships.” Many new developments are propelling the industry forward such Today there are many private golf course driving ranges such as Harmony, Zen, Skyline. The coming of women in a big way is good news. Recently India’s Aditi Ashok won the women’s individual golf silver medal at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China. When the game cuts across gender and economic classes, as one industry insider puts it and the middle class takes to it in a big way, that’s when the golf revolution will happen in India.
Currently, what are the rates prevailing at golf courses? If you know an army personnel and can get access to the Army and Air force golf course, you can play a 18 hole for Rs 1,000 on a weekday and Rs 1,500-2,000 on a weekend. Private developers such as DLF, Jaypee charge something upwards of Rs 3,000 on a weekday and Rs 6,000 on a weekend. At DDA golf courses such as Qutab the charges range from Rs 1,200 on a weekday to Rs 2,000 on a weekend while at Bhalswa it is Rs 600 on a weekday and Rs 900 on a weekend.
One of the upcoming courses is at Dwarka spread over an area of 173 acres. Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is creating an 18-hole state-of-the-art golf course in Dwarka, where domestic and international championships can be held, and this will be ready by year end.
Finally American golfer Arnold Palmer best summarizes the essence of the game by saying- “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
The price chart below gives an overview of the key items needed for you to invest in a golf game
|Golf Set – Driver, Woods, Irons, Wedges, Putter||Taylormade, Callaway, Ping, Srixon, Macgregor||70,000-15 lakhs|
|Golf Shoes||Footjoy, Ecco, Adidas, Decathlon||5,000-20,000|
|Collar T shirt||Adidas, Under Armour, Nike||3,000-10,000|
|Golf Trouser||Taylormade, Adidas, Under Armour, Nike||3,000-10,000|
|Golf Gloves||Taylormade, Footjoy, Decathlon||500-3,000|
|Golf Balls||Titleist, Taylormade, Nike||100-1,000|
|Golf Charges Per Game||Karma Lakelands, Qutub, DGC, DLF, Oxford, Bangalore Golf Club, ITC||1,000-10,000 per 18 holes|
|Golf Bag||Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist||4,000-20,000|
Source: Market Research