There comes a time in every athlete’s career when the desire to step up, or in Nishna Patel’s case “get out of the comfort zone”, kindles. In fact, one thing led to the other. Her four appearances on the Women’s Golf Association of India prior to September 1 when she will tee off at the DLF Golf and Country Club after Lockdown 2, were borne out solitude on the golf course.
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As a diligent student, Nishna ticked most of the boxes. Balancing golf and academics, turning up for practice regularly, following her coaches’ (she trains under Laurence Brotheridge and Mita Gowande) bid, honing every aspect of the game and challenging the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) course, which has been second home since she took up golf at 8 seven years back.
Her family has been a bedrock of support, father Hemesh introduced her to the sport, brother Ronav, an amateur golfer of standing, has kept a tab on her progress and is the go-to man whenever the baby sister is in a predicament on or off the golf course.
Mother Urvi put her career as a dentist on the backburner as she chaperoned the brother-sister for tournaments around the country.
The issue for Nishna was despite Ronav’s hands-on approach, she was often competing against herself rather than girls her age. The talent was unmistakable for BPGC’s three-time youngest lady golfer of the year, what was required was stiff competition to get better. Without giving up on her amateur status a call was taken to test out how she would fare against seasoned pros on the WGAI.
The tryst began in February on her home course and the outcome was more than satisfactory. The T12 finish and first hole-in-one took away the pressure of playing her rookie event and was incentive to carry on till the second wave of the pandemic in March. Just before lockdown, Nishna bettered her BPGC show by a spot at Jaipur’s Rambagh Golf Club and went into the forced break feeling good about the returns.
Like most, she set up a facility at home for her golf and fitness drills and used it to stay sharp. Nishna’s fifth pro event this week will be another acid test and part of the learning curve, but whatever the outcome the bottom line will not change.
“I have learnt a lot watching the pros, how they play and conduct themselves.” That’s as far as golf goes.
On the personal front, the sport has taught patience and the positives of solid work ethics.
Photo credit: Nishna Patel