Published: 18th January 2019
14-year-old Arjun Bhati tells us what it takes to win a golf world championship
Initially, Arjun didn't really receive a lot of support from his family. It was only after a few consecutive wins that they realised his potential and future in the sport
In a sport that's hardly even played in India, 14-year-old Arjun Bhati made the country proud by winning the US Kids Junior Golf World Championship 2018. Arjun defeated America’s Aksel Moe during the three-level final match in Malaysia.
Arjun was just eight when he first played golf. "I used to watch people playing on the golf course and I always wanted to try it out," says Arjun whose first tournament was in 2013 in JP Green, his home club. Arjun has played around 144 tournaments so far and won 107 out of them.
But the journey hasn't been easy. Initially, Arjun didn't really receive a lot of support from his family. It was only after a few consecutive wins that they realised his potential and future in the sport and decided to support him. Now, his parents have been spending their time and money into nurturing his dream.
By his side: Although not supportive initially, Arjun's father now travels with him for all his tournaments
A student of Greater Valley School, Noida, Arjun says it is quite a challenge for him to manage his studies and golf. "I practise for about four to six hours every day and I exercise for about two hours. So I don't really get time for studies. However, my school has been very supportive. They've actually provided me two teachers who come over to my house to teach me."
Another major challenge for Arjun is his diet as he is a vegetarian. "Whenever I travel abroad for tournaments, I have to travel 10 to 15 kilometres in the city to get the diet I need," he says. "Physical fitness is a must for golfers. It's essential to exercise every day to avoid injuries. A lot of golfers have got injured in the last few years," he adds.
Talking about the tournament he won, Arjun says, "I won the same championship in 2016. So I had an automatic entry into this year's tournament. There were around 350 players from over 29 countries. I was there for about seven days. The competition was really tough, the weather was not in my favour either. On the first day, we had to stop because of the rain. So it was quite a surreal experience to win it.
When asked what he looks forward to in the future, Arjun says, "Someday, I want to become the World No 1 golfer and win an Olympic medal for India."