(April 2, 2022) As a child, Hardik S Chawda would often wonder where his father Sunil would go early each morning. One such morning in 2008 when Hardik was eight, he insisted on accompanying his father and Sunil drove him straight to the golf course. “This is where I come every morning,” the businessman told his son, who scanned the golf course with excitement. That was also the first time he held a golf club.
Today, at 21, Hardik is at his golfing best. He recently became the first from the Hyderabad Golf Association and Telangana to crack the professional golf tour of India’s “B” card, on his first attempt. Hardik achieved this feat at the PGTI qualifying school which was held in Ahmedabad at Kalhaar Blue and Greens golf course in February this year.
His driving force
“My dad introduced me to golf. He often told me to focus on one sport and indulge in it with complete dedication. So I chose golf over everything,” smiles Hardik, speaking with Global Indian. He went through the pre-qualifying events out of which 130 qualified for the final stage. “After four days of competition, the top 40 made the ‘A’ card and those who finished 41 to 80 got the ‘B’ card. I finished 51st,” says the beaming golfer. With an ‘A’ card, one can play all the events irrespective of the prize money at stake while the ‘B’ card holders will get to participate in fewer events. Nonetheless the ‘B’ card gives him access to about 20 tournaments across the country and he will also be eligible to play tourneys in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
“It was a great week for me and kind of a mixed bag. After the third day, I was doing well and in contention for the ‘A’ card. But during the final round, I had two bad holes which denied me a top 40 finish and I slipped to 51,” says the young golfer about the recent tournament.
What it takes
“One of the key aspects in this sport is patience. At my level of game, it is all about your mental strength,” says Hardik, a BCom final year student of St Mary’s college in Yousufguda, Hyderabad. He is now completely focussed on his game, putting in many hours of practice, shaping his game to the best.
The youngster says that you either win or lose a tournament with your decision making. “On a professional tour, everyone has a good swing, short game and able putting. A player who makes the right decisions on the course and plays with a very relaxed and confident mindset wins,” says the professional golfer, who has 14 clubs in his ‘arsenal’ besides other equipment. “Golf equipment is quite expensive and not affordable to most but I’m very thankful to my parents who support me,” he says.
Practice makes perfect
Hardik spends anywhere between six to eight hours on his full golf days, which includes close to two hours of fitness. “I do try to play every day except for the days when I have an exam or other academic commitments,” says the Hyderabad-born lad, who studied in Delhi Public School. During lockdown and post lockdown, when there was no golfing, he assisted his father in their chemical business. “But now that I have turned pro, I barely get any time.” The Chawda family originally belongs to Gujarat but have settled in Hyderabad for decades.
He says fitness plays a huge role in professional golfing. “Golf is no more for a short hitter. Everyone now understands the importance of fitness and how it can benefit their game and we see players hitting more than 320- 330 yards of carry distance,” says Hardik. His workout comprises warm up stretches which he does before he leaves to play. Upon return, he does foam rolling just to release and relax the whole body. “I also do a little bit of meditation before my rounds. I try to eat healthy and avoid oily and junk food as much as I can,” informs the golfer, who likes to play cricket and basketball with friends in his free time besides watching adventure or rom-coms on Netflix and other OTT platforms.
So what are Hardik’s future plans? “Firstly, I want to play well on the Professional Golf Tour Of India this year. Thereafter, I aim to move on to the Asian Tour, European tour and ultimately the PGA tour. For me nothing matters until I’m on the PGA tour. It’s like a dream come true for me competing against the world’s top golfers,” smiles the golfer, who is hoping he would compete against the greatest golfer of all times Tiger Woods himself one day. He credits his coach Sanjay Kumar Singh (Hyderabad), Jesse Grewal (Chandigarh), Muneer sir (fitness coach Hyderabad) and Sagar Diwan (fitness Coach Chandigarh). “Importantly, my whole family supported me and backed me throughout,” says Hardik, for whom the Hyderabad Golf Association has been his home club, since he started his golf career from there.