Growing up at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) during those impressionable years, Sunit Chowrasia couldn’t be blamed for believing that life on the greens defined a man. The family, more importantly mentor SSP Chawrasia, let Sunit, yet to touch double digits, stay with the notion and enjoy the perks of living in the precincts of the club. A carefree existence and of course getting to watch SSP from close quarters, not just on the course but the way he interacted with fans and members alike as a picture of humility.
It was like a daily ritual those days. SSP’s arrival at RCGC was announced by his caddie knocking on Sunit’s door to pick up the staff bag kept there, and was a signal for Sunit to follow his uncle’s practice routine. The ensuing conversations were absorbed and stayed even after all these years. Golf was all Sunit knew then, and the desire to emulate SSP had him enroll for his first structured golf lessons under Indrajit Bhalotia.
A lot changed in the following years. SSP’s status further burgeoned and he went on to secure his breakthrough win on the European Tour. For Sunit, the association with Indrajit laid the foundation for a bigger stage that lay in store. The conversations between uncle and nephew continued. In fact, after Sunit joining the pro ranks in 2018, the discussions have become prolonged and intense. Boundaries hardly matter as no matter where SSP tees off, notes are exchanged regularly.
The week of the Austrian Golf Open is a case in point. SSP carded an even-par round on the opening day and the experience of playing steady golf in biting cold was duly shared. It remains to be seen if Sunit can make that level, if he does, he will be armed with enough knowhow, something SSP didn’t have when he started playing in diverse conditions across Europe.
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What he did know was when Sunit decided to pursue pro golf, a different set of eyes and changes in the swing were required. It was 2014 and saw Sunit get in touch with Jesse Grewal. The bond has deepened with time in a way that Sunit often spends time in Chandigarh with his coach prior to major events on the Professional Golf Tour of India.
Jesse in charge of finetuning Sunit’s game, SSP has assumed the responsibility of ensuring his nephew blossoms into an articulate, supremely fit athlete. In anticipation of speaking up on bigger platforms, Sunit enrolled for a course in public speaking and is working hard on fitness under Ranadeep Moitra and Sagar Diwan.
Getting better at the craft has started to reflect in the results. The top-10s are going up and the icing in the short pro career is the sole second at the Players Championship in Chandigarh in November last.
It was a freakish 10-under 62 on the final day that played a hand, of course with some putting tips from Divyanshu Bajaj. SSP, who makes it a point to check Sunit’s scores on the phone, initially thought it was a prank when the score was posted first on a WhatsApp group for pro golfers in Kolkata.
A phone call dispelled the doubt, and buttressed a lesson handed down over the years. “Chacha (uncle) has always maintained ‘only if you give your entire life to golf will you get a small piece (reward) in return’.” That’s the way forward for Sunit as he “learns and gets better with an open mind”