Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: India’s emergence as a powerhouse in junior golf was evident with the qualification of 32 players in various age-group competitions under the global banner of the US Kids Golf.
The 32 kids – 20 boys and 12 girls-, are from as many as 13 age groups, who are now eligible with Priority Status for US Kids global events in Europe and some of them will also be eligible for World Championships, depending on their status.
Of the five categories of Priority Status, Burgundy status holders will be eligible for US Kids World Championships and 13 of the 32 Indian players have earned the Burgundy status on the basis of their scoring. Of the remaining, 14 have Orange Status and five have Blue Status.
The opportunity to play on international courses also readies the youngsters to play on Championship courses where the world’s best compete annually. This year the European segment of US Kids will see the players practice and play at courses like the Renaissance, Gullane, Craigelaw, Archerfield Links and others.
Each age-group’s competition is held at a different venue and all the events are scheduled for the last week of May.
Gullane is where the prestigious Scottish Open was held last year with India’s Shubhankar Sharma playing it for the first time, while this year’s Scottish Open is scheduled to be held at the Renaissance, so the UK Kids Golf events will give the teen and pre-teens a chance to see and play course they will hope to play on as adults later on.
A lot of the youngsters who have achieved Priority Status this season will be playing in Europe for the first time, adding to their experience of playing in quality courses in India and Asia and now Europe.
Rajesh Srivastava, President, US Kids India, said, “Our main aim to get these youngsters ready for the bigger challenges as they grow in the sport and get to play where the world’s best compete like Gullane or Renaissance which have hosted the Rolex series events like Scottish Open on European Tour.”
He added, “So, when these young players finally to get play major events at the same courses, they will not be in awe of them, but take on the challenge.”