Chandigarh, India October 19, 2020: Caddy-turned professional golfer Akshay Sharma in front of his newly bought double-story house at Nayagaon on Monday, October, 19, 2020.

It began as a method to reinforce household earnings. Then, 13, Akshay Sharma’s first incomes from the Chandigarh Golf Course was ₹25. Fast ahead to October 2020: Sharma, 30, now an expert golfer, purchased a two-storey 180 sq. yard home at Nayagaon close to Chandigarh for his household final week.

A household of six, together with 4 siblings, residing in a one-room rented lodging has moved to its personal six-room home making Sharma the newest success story amongst those that began as caddies and have become skilled golfers.

“My life revolves around the 18-hole golf course. First, it was the job of the caddie to earn a pocket money and contribute in my family’s meagre income and now I play golf to provide a decent lifestyle to my family,” says Sharma, whose highest four-day incomes is Rs 8.08 lakh from profitable QA InfoTech Open in 2018 held in Noida.

“In my previous locality, Kishangarh, which is close to the golf course, many school-going kids doubled as caddie to earn money. So, looking into the financial condition of my family, I started taking up the caddie job on weekends. But more visits to the golf course mean more money, so gradually weekends turned into a daily affair and I started bunking school. Eventually, the course became my classroom,” provides Sharma, who give up lecturers after Class 12.

Sharma turned skilled in 2010 and since 2015 he has bought the total card to play the complete season on the Indian tour. “The day I turned pro, my ultimate target was to have my own house. It took me almost 10 years to realise my dream. Now, as I am free from my biggest responsibility, my next target is to save money to play on the Asian Tour. Hopefully, by next two seasons I will able to have a decent savings, so in case I don’t get a travel sponsor, I will able to invest funds from my own pocket,” says Sharma, whose profession incomes is Rs 65 lakh, of which Rs 32 lakh was received over the previous two years.

“Over the years, I have realised that if I have to play big golf then, initially, I have to invest money in the sport.”

Days of wrestle

After two years of caddying, Sharma purchased two second hand golf equipment (7 Iron and Sandwich) for Rs 500 every. As he was not eligible to make use of the course, Sharma honed {golfing} expertise within the floor at Saketri, close to the course so after his caddy work.

“To have a personal golf set was one of the requirements to get permission to use the golfing facility on the course, so for almost two years I saved the money and bought my first set. It was second-hand and cost me Rs 8,000,” he says.

For the primary five-six years, Sharma would journey by prepare, search for least expensive lodges and share rooms with caddies accompanying different execs. “In the initial years of turning pro, I had limited earnings. So my main focus was to save as much money as I can. Gradually, things started improving on both personal and professional fronts and since 2017, I am able to afford traveling by air and staying in decent hotels. For the last two years, I have been able to take my caddy Monty Kumar (from Delhi) on in the Indian circuit,” says Sharma.

Back on Tour

Next month, the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) will resume after the lockdown in March to fight Covid-19. There will likely be tournaments in Panchkula and Chandigarh in successive weeks starting on November four and November 9. Sharma together with different caddy-turn execs are eagerly ready for them. “Covid has been tough for professional golfers. I played the last tournament in February. I had some savings but now it is almost exhausted. So, we all are hoping for a good show in the events.”

“The good thing is that the pro circuit is starting from Chandigarh-Panchkula, so we don’t have to pitch in money for travelling. Playing on the home course will be an added advantage.”

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