Something odd was happening at the BPGC’s golf course. A little boy, barely taller than the average golf club, was hitting the ball sweetly, launching them into the air. Among those impressed was a foreigner, who immediately made his way over to the boy’s parents to tell them that their boy had a beautiful swing. ‘He’s a natural. How long has he been playing?’ the curious gentleman asked.
To his surprise, he was told that it was the first time the boy had even lifted a golf club.
The reason he was already playing like a natural was not due to chance. Or some sort of beginner’s luck. Living next door to the BPGC golf course, the boy had grown up watching people play the sport every day. It wasn’t long before he got hooked. While boys his age watched cricket or European football on television, he was glued to the golf channel. He even started playing the sport on the PlayStation. That’s when his parents decided he should try the real thing.
Cut to 2017, Krishiv Tekchandani, that seven-year-old boy, has grown into one of India’s most promising golfers, ranked third in the country in his age group.
“Three years after I played golf for the first time, I realised I want to do this for a living. I had won a few tournaments and people were telling me that I was good at it. I like that it’s a very calm game and so I thought why not?” Krishiv, now 15 years of age, tells Firstpost.
Once he made the decision, the practicalities started to reveal themselves. Not finding the current golfing infrastructure up to the mark, the Tekchandanis realised that he would have to be sent abroad to get the best coaching. So he and his mother moved to Dubai where he could get the best training and play in more competitive tournaments. Last year, he and his mother spent nearly seven to eight months out of India, shuttling between Dubai and USA.
That decision also triggered another unusual decision. Krishiv quit his school to join an online school in California called Laurel Springs.
“Many people in my community would ask me what was going on. They would preach about how we Sindhis are great at doing business. ‘Why are you letting your son take up sport?’ they would ask,” Krishiv’s father Lalit says.
There in Dubai, his passion mutated into an obsession, almost to the point of becoming all consuming. He realised that he if needed to be better at the sport, he needed to get fitter. Over the last six months, he spends up to an hour on golf specific fitness training sessions at least thrice a week. Apart from that, he does another two-three hours of cardio training, be it running or playing badminton or swimming. Then there are the mental coaching sessions, where the onus is on maintaining your composure, irrespective of whether you are winning or losing.
Chocolates and cakes were also sacrificed at the altar of fitness.
“The old notion in golf was that you don’t have to be fit to play the sport. In today’s time, if you look at the golfers who are the top of the sport, be it Rory McIlroy or Henrik Stenson, all of these guys are really fit,” Krishiv’s mother Kajal says.
Golf is a sport that makes overwhelming demands off families too. Krishiv’s father, a businessman, reckons he spends nearly Rs 50 lakhs a year on his son’s ambition.
“It’s one of the most expensive sports. There’s no two ways about it. Every time we go to a new country, we set up a new house,” says Kajal.
“Money is not a goal for us. I’m from a really poor background. So I used to run for my daily bread and butter. But my thinking is, if my son wants to do this from the bottom of his heart, I should do everything in my capacity to make it happen. He has some local sponsors, people who I know personally, but there’s no money coming in from that. So all the money is spent by us. We don’t like to call it a sacrifice. We call it love,” Lalit, who is a businessman, adds.
Coming from a country where there are only a handful of golf players to look up to, the Mumbai boy idolises Rory McIlroy. A meeting with the Irish golfer in 2014 left a lasting impact on him.
“I really like Rory McIlroy. He’s been my idol since 2014 when I met him at the DP World Tour in Dubai. He was in the middle of a round but still came and shook my hand after a hole. Not many golfers do that in the middle of a round. Rory was very respectful,” Krishiv recollects.
Now Krishiv has dreams of going pro by the age of 20. Who knows, maybe one day he may even find himself competing against McIlroy.
Updated Date: Mar 26, 2017 08:45 AM