A man of simple tastes, the small joys of life always fascinated Om Prakash Chouhan. Trouble started as the pull got stronger the past few years. Hanging out with friends at Mhow’s Main Street, gorging on samosas, sweets or lassi after a heavy lunch, never mind if that meant cutting down on practice, were moments to look forward to.
As the band of ‘brothers’ grew closer, the lifestyle drew OP away from golf. The savouries kept adding inches around the waist and the OP of yore was lost amidst the merriment. The effects were felt on the golf course as well. He missed cut in his first event in Chandigarh at the Professional Golf Tour of India on return after lockdown last year and 2020’s final event in Jamshedpur also wasn’t fruitful.
Priorities muddled up, OP needed help, and it came from an unexpected source.
Sheetal, his wife, may not understand the nuances of sport, but their eight-year association has armed her with requisite knowhow to realise that OP was losing the ‘battle of the bulge’, and much-needed monies.
Some strong words and OP ushered in the New Year determined to break away from the past. The wasteland or ‘jungle’, as the golfers in this cantonment town term it, was abuzz after a gap before the second wave of the pandemic brought life to a standstill again.
Following a light breakfast of tea and an occasional paratha, OP hit the tract of land by 8am and sharpened his iron play till noon. The urge to hang out at his old haunt gone, he returned after lunch, which is now a glass of juice, and hit balls for two hours with the driver and woods. Thereafter, the road nearby became his running track. Sweating it out for an hour and over 3km has trimmed the waistline and OP now weighs 72kg, down from 89.
The opening days of the Gujarat Open in February threw up the benefits. Gone was the fatigue of spending long hours at competition, and the uncertainty before ball striking. “In fact, confidence is sky high,” says OP.
If he is attempting a fade, that is the way it pans out now. The famed natural swing is back as well and had a role to play in his sitting pretty atop the leaderboard on the Sunday. The title could have been his but for the 78. Despite the disappointment of missing out, the signs were clear and the hard yards put in bore fruit the very next week as the Glade One Masters signalled OP’s sixth title on the PGTI.
Photo credit: OP Chouhan