Ode to an athlete’s never-say-die spirit on Independence Day

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2009 Indian Open champion C Muniyappa kept himself afloat in dark times with innovative methods of playing golf.
2009 Indian Open champion C Muniyappa kept himself afloat in dark times with innovative methods of playing golf.

On the auspicious occasion of our 75th Independence Day, a celebration of the indomitable human spirit that refuses to give up no matter what.

C Muniyappa poses with a putter he carved out of the branch of a tamarind tree in his village near Bangalore.
C Muniyappa poses with a putter he carved out of the branch of a tamarind tree in his village near Bangalore.

When Chinnaswamy Muniyappa started caddying at the Karnataka Golf Association at seven, he had nothing but a dream that someday he would get to play with his own clubs.

By the time he was nine, some knowhow had been acquired about golf and that’s when a thought came on making clubs out of tamarind trees, which were in abundance around Bengaluru’s Old Airport Road.

He carved a 7-iron out of a branch and used it as a putter too to compete with kids his age on a mud green they created.

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Initially, it was tough to switch between his creation and members’ used clubs, but that is passé now.

The desire to rub shoulders with the best in professional golf burning bright, Muniyappa went on to win on the Asian Tour with the triumph at the 2009 Hero Indian Open.

 

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That win allowed him to rub shoulders with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at a World Golf Championship, and with time wins on the Professional Golf Tour of India followed as well.

In times of lockdown, the hand-crafted 5-iron and putter have been combined with some conventional clubs to stay tournament-ready on mud greens, again a throwback to the formative years, in his village in Tamil Nadu and that is the way it will be till the pandemic subsides.

Pix/video credit: C Muniyappa

More Read: Mud greens, Muniyappa’s lockdown innovation