Top 10 Golf Players In India
Golf is becoming popular in India largely because people have more disposable income than ever before and can afford expensive hobbies such as golf. So it should be no surprise to anyone that the best golf players in India are generally from upper-class families, who have had access to golf courses from a young age.
Arnold Palmer, considered to be one of the most famous golf players ever, once said, “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.” Should you play golf? Who are the best golf players in India? Let’s investigate.
Golf in India: The Game of Elites
Golf remains a sport of the classes, rather than that of the masses. There is nothing wrong with that. Golf has always been an exclusive sport played by wealthy people. True, there have been many great golfers who have come from working class families, but generally the sport is followed by the upper classes.
That’s why it will take some time before golf takes off in India. In India, we don’t have the same kind of public golf courses that provide affordable access to golf as in the US or Australia. Most golf courses in India are super-exclusive.
But there is no question that smart parents are seeing the advantage in golf. There are many Indian students who have applied to college in the US on a golf scholarship. Golf can help boys and girls in India get admission into the best universities in the United States – provided they are really good at the sport.
Top golf players in India
Golf can also help them earn a very good income as professionals. There are many famous golf players in the country who have achieved great things in the sport, achieved several laurels for the country and made a lot of money in the process. Here’s a look at some of the finest golf players in India.
Gaurav Ghei is a well known Indian golfer who has been playing the sport professionally since he was 23 years old. He has been one of India’s foremost professionals, and has made a name for himself in the sport ever since he won his first golf tournament, back in 1991 – the year he turned professional.
Ghei has won three Asian titles in golf. He won the Desaru classic as well, back in 1994. He made history by becoming the first Indian golfer to qualify for the British Open, considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf.
He also won the Gadgil Western Masters. Today, Ghei is semi-retired and has been overshadowed by many young and talented Indian golfers. But he will be remembered as India’s first truly successful professional golfer.
Ali Sher is another Indian golfer who shot to fame in the 1990s. He was the first Indian to have won the Indian Open title, back in 1991. He also won the competition again in 1993. He went on to participate in several international tournaments. Back in the 1990s, Ali Sher was the foremost professional golfer in India, along with his friend and rival Gaurav Ghei. Ali won the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1991 for excellent contribution to the game of golf in India.
Anirban Lahiri is a young Indian golfer who has done very well recently. He is today the top ranked golfer in India and has got into the top-50 world ranking of golfers. Anirban is from Bangalore and learned his golf there. Still only in his early 20s, he has already achieved some major successes in golf.
Shiv Kapur is a 35-year-old Indian golfer who has achieved amazing things in the sport already. Before turning professional he had a very good career as an amateur and won the gold medal in golf in the 2002 Asian Games.
His biggest success came when he won the prestigious Volvo Masters of Asia in 2005. However, Kapur’s golf career failed to take off in a spectacular manner since then. He has failed to live up to the potential everyone thought he had.
Kapur dropped out of the top 200 world golf ranking recently. He has struggled to deliver in high-pressure situations in the US Open and British Open. But his early successes cannot be taken away from him and he remains one of the best golfers in the country.
Jeev Milkha Singh
Everyone knows Jeev Milkha Singh as the son of the greatest Indian athlete of all time, Milkha Singh. Jeev has also established a name for himself in golf and has an achieved a lot. He was the first Indian golfer to be a regular member of the European tour. He is also the first Indian golfer to break into the top 50 of the world golf ranking. His performances in international golf tournaments have been decent without being spectacular.
Arjun Atwal is another famous Indian golfer who has achieved a lot in his career so far. Atwal was the first Indian golfer to have won more than $1 million in career earnings in the sport. He was the first Indian golfer to play in the US PGA tour. He has gone on to win the European Tour Order of Merit as well as the Asian Order of Merit in 2003.
Jyoti Randhawa is another of India’s best golfers who has won many honours in the sport. He was the winner of the Hero Honda Masters Championship in 1998 and 1999. He won the Asian Order of Merit in 2002. He was the second Indian golfer to break into the top 100 in the world golf rankings.
Aged 36 years, Sujjan Singh is a professional golfer from Chandigarh. He joined the Professional Golf Tour of India and has two wins – 2010 Aircel – PGTI Players Championship and 2011 PGTI Players Championship. He has one win toalso won the Asian Development Tour, 2012 Taman Dayu Championship. He is married to India’s former No. 1 ladies’ golfer, Irina Brar. His current world golf ranking position is 1,811. The total prize money till April 2017 Sujjan Singh has to his credit, as of April 2017, is INR 4,13,507. Prior to golf, he represented his state in football and was a state squash champion.
Born in New Delhi, Himmat Rai is a professional golfer who won the 2011 ISPS Handa Singapore Classic. His professional wins include the 2009 PGTI Players Championship and amateur wins were taken between 2005 and 2006. He started playing the game at only 12-years-old.
Born in Kapurthala, Gaganjeet Bullar plays on the Asian Tour. He had been awarded the Arjuna Award in 2013. He was India’s number one amateur in 2004 and 2006 and was part of the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games. His current world golf ranking position is 176. He picked up the game from his father H.S Bhullar at the age of 4, and became a professional golfer in 2006. Gaganjeet was India’s number one amateur in 2004 and 2006 and claimed a silver medal in the team event at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. He also won the World Junior Masters Championship in 2005.
He won the prestigious Maybank Malaysian Open, spectacularly coming from behind on the last day when he was down by four shots. He also won the Hero Indian Open in 2015, when he beat the more famous golfer Shiv Kapur on the last day, once again coming from behind. He is today a regular on the PGA tour.
Anirban’s biggest goal is to win an Olympic gold in golf for India. He has certainly been working hard for it. He recently did very well in the World Golf Championship in Miami. He expects to break into the world top 10 in a year or two.
So these are some of the most famous golf players in India. Are you a golfer too? What’s your handicap?