The perks of growing up in a sporting family are many, and not a day passes when Pukhraj Singh Gill and younger brother Digraj count the positives. Father Balwant Singh Gill played hockey at the highest level and was also an amateur golfer of repute and that’s how the boys got hooked to the sport.
The issue of learning golf in Ludhiana was the absence of a quality golf course. Initially during the junior days, the football ground doubled up as the driving range and Gill Sr ensured the grass cover on the turf was always adequate and of good quality to ensure the boys’ well being.
As they grew up, travel started. From the Punjab Police course in Phillaur to the Chandigarh and the Panchkula Golf Clubs, and RCF Kapurthala, the entire state became their canvas as they strove to get better. The familiarity has shown in their results on the Professional Golf Tour of India after they turned pro in 2018.
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What these travels also instilled was the hunger to match the boys from the big centres, and backed by the unflinching support of the family, accolades lay in store on the junior and amateur circuits.
Turning pro at the same time was a big call but the only similarity in the brothers’ journeys. Pitfalls have been coped with and learned from, and Digraj and Pukhraj can claim to have come out of the challenges a lot wiser.
For Digraj, the turning point was realising work was needed on fitness after he almost passed out on the 14th hole of the Chittagong Open, his third start on the PGTI. He missed cut but it got him going on the path that’s seen him lose 30kg till now. Leaner and calmer, courtesy the introspection during lockdown, Digraj is as eager as a child to get going again.
Pukhraj’s problem had a different colour, and was about bridging the gap between practice and tournament play. The months of inaction have given him a deeper understanding of the golf swing and that he hopes will stand in good stead once tournaments resume.
Photo credit: Pukhraj Singh Gill/Digraj Singh Gill