Achievements

‘I’m working towards becoming the world’s best player,’ says golf prodigy Pritish

Inspired by Rory McIlroy, Shubhankar Sharma and Aditi Ashok, Apeejay School Panchsheel Park student Pritish has Delhi’s golfing circles abuzz

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Pritish Singh Karayat, a class 8 student of Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, won the NCR Cup tournament held at the Delhi Golf Club last week. Competing in the junior category, the 13-year-old has set his eyes on becoming the Numero Uno golfer in the world and emulate his idol, former world number one

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. In an interview, he discusses the stars of the Indian golfing circuit, his single-digit handicap at his home course and the role of his school and parents in helping him in his pursuit for sporting glory. Edited excerpts:

Congratulations on winning the NCR Cup at the Delhi Golf Club. Please share some memories of the event.

I was playing in the age group 13 years to 14 years in the B category. The Delhi Golf Club isn’t an easy venue to play at, particularly for somebody like me, who was playing there for the first time. My father was caddying for me, like he does at most tournaments these days. In the final stages of the tournament, two players were tied for the winner’s position and it had to be decided with a play-off. Even there, it was all square. Finally, I made a par and won.

At what age did you pick up golf and who inspired you to take up the sport?

I began playing at the age of nine, almost four and a half years ago. And the person who inspired me to pick up the golf club was my father.

Which is your home course and how much is your handicap at that course?

I started playing at the Qutab Golf Course. We stay in Vasant Kunj, so the course is at a distance of about 15-20 minutes from our residence. Although I have played at many other venues in the national capital region, I consider the Qutab Golf Course as my home course. My handicap is five there. Apart from this, I have performed better at other courses as well. My best performance is having played to 1.5 handicap during the Champions Trophy at the ITC Classic Golf and Country Club.

What role have your parents played in your golfing journey?

For the very first time, my father Shivraj Singh Karayat took me to Qutab Golf Course. I was fascinated when I saw him playing there. I loved the ambience. I urged my father to let me try out golf. He arranged some junior clubs from the range for me. It was at this moment that I decided to take up the sport. I think it was one of the most important decisions of my life and I have my father to thank for it. He caddies for me at most tournaments these days, while mother helps me out with my academics and makes sure my nutrition needs are met.

How have the teachers at Apeejay Panchsheel Park supported you in your pursuit of sporting glory?

Undoubtedly, it could not have been possible to strike a balance between academics and golf without the support of my school. I want to thank the Principal, Vice Principal and my class teacher at Apeejay, Panchsheel Park in particular. My class teacher gave me extra classes and supported me in completing my notebook.

 Who is your favourite golfer on the international tour and why?

Rory McIlroy, a professional golfer from Northern Ireland, a former world number one, is my favourite golfer in the world. Why do I like him so much? Well, I have been following his career and I realised we both have a similar swing.

Did you follow the exploits of Aditi Ashok at the recently held Tokyo Olympics? Who is your favourite Indian golfer?

Yes, she came fourth at Tokyo, defeating a number of players ranked much higher than her. Aditi’s performance put the spotlight on golf in a cricket-obsessed country like ours and inspired many young golfers. My favourite player in the country at present is Shubhankar Sharma because he has been the top golfer in India for some time now and he possesses a great all-round game and fantastic putting.

Which area of the game — long game or putting or anything else — do you want to improve upon? Also, what kind of equipment do you use?

My short game is my strength and I want to improve my long game. I use a Prodi G club and my putter is a TaylorMade Spider X.

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to take up a career in golf?  

My ultimate dream is to become the number one golfer in the world. I have just made it to the category B in golf and I realise I need more distance in my long game and graduate to category A. I am taking coaching from Abhay Singh Chauhan Sir at the DLF Golf Resort and am working on increasing my fitness, particularly for the core and lower body. I want to work hard towards realising my dream of becoming world number one, but at the same time I want to enjoy the game.

“Young students of our school are taking keen interest in competitions such as these. And we are proud of them. At 13, Pritish is playing for national level tournaments and has also done very well in academics. The school and his parents have always encouraged him.”

– Ritu Mehta, Principal, Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park 

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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