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Inspired by Seve, child prodigy Ridhima Kapoor yearns to become an Indian golfing sensation

Bengaluru girl Ridhima Kapoor affirmed her penchant for golf, claiming several South Zone tour titles last year. Starting golf at seven in 2021, she emerged as the overall champion of the Indian Golf Union in the U9 category in 2023.

Inspired by Seve, child prodigy Ridhima Kapoor yearns to become an Indian golfing sensation

Ridhima Kapoor, nine, emerged as the overall champion of the Indian Golf Union in the Under 9 category in 2023. 


Sudipta Biswas

Updated: 8 Jan 2024 10:53 AM GMT

Is there any perfect age for a true calling? True calling perhaps has no perfect age.

Ridhima Kapoor, now aged nine, affirmed her penchant for golf, an off-beat sport for a child in the pretext of the Indian sports ecosystem, with a sign of making it big. Starting golf at seven in 2021, she emerged as the overall champion of the Indian Golf Union in the Under-9 category in 2023.

Showing remarkable tenacity to pick up the skills, Ridhima, a resident of Bengaluru, claimed several domestic titles and made many runner-up finishes last year. It was a year when Ridhima displayed incredible consistency and game awareness.

After she made a runner-up finish at Coorg, she pledged to assert her domination over the tour, claiming four events in a row.

'Comeback is always stronger than the setback'. With this motto, Ridhima swept four IGU Sub Junior tour events, three in April and one in May, in Coimbatore, Kodaikanal, Ooty and Bengaluru, respectively.

Ridhima Kapoor in action at an event

And now she is vying for more titles, as her ultimate aim is to become an Indian golfing sensation, following her superstar idols.

She is a fast learner, and she has her own favourites.

"My favourite golfers are Seve and Nelly Koda, and in India Subhankar Sharma and Aditi Ashok," Ridhima told The Bridge in an exclusive interview.

In terms of shots, she has also discovered a list of her favourites. "Putting, driver shot and chipping are my favourites," she asserted.

Unusual choice

But two years back, her decision to play golf happened in a trice. Quite unusually, leaving her father disappointed, she looked away from sports which enjoyed more acceptance among Indian parents.

Her father, Prateek Kapoor, who enrolled Ridhama in various sports to engage her in activities, noticed his daughter's reluctance to play.

"I wanted to get her engaged in some kind of physical activity so that she remains focused. So we initially tried dancing, and then she would go to French classes.

But she was not enjoying that. In our society, we have badminton courts, there's tennis, and then there is squash, everything we tried, but she showed very little interest in exploring these sports. We tried F1 racing too for her, but she was scared," revealed Prateek.

Asked Ridhima why she chose golf, she provided an articulated answer.

"I found other sports less interesting," stated Ridhima, who likes the calmness of golf and the focus it desires for every shot.

Her father's wish to engage her in a sport was finally realised in 2021 when she saw 'Seve the Movie', a BBC documentary on legendary Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros.

"I was amazed by the crowd following Seve. After watching the documentary, I have decided to become a successful golfer and wish to see fans following me everywhere in future," she proclaimed.

Encouraged by her daughter's penchant for golf, Prateek enrolled her at the To The Tee Golf Academy in Bengaluru.

"First, it was a month's course. As she showed signs of progress and coaches also praised her, I enrolled her in a three-month course. Initially, she played with borrowed kits. Though I wanted to buy her a new kit, coach Rahim said she should earn it," revealed Prateek, an IT professional.

"Finally in 2023, I bought a new kit for her after she claimed the IGU South Zone Championship in E category," said Prateek.

Praised by the golfing community

Ridhima, now a student of class 3 at DPS Bangalore North, is a serious golfer. "I struggle to balance my study and golf. It gets a little tough to study and play golf. At the same time, I have tournaments and examinations. But my preference is golf," she declared.

Displaying her unbelievable form, skills and determination to win, Ridhima has also earned the accolades of the local golfing community. Jayanan Sadhagopalan, the head of South Zone, IGU Tour, is one such admirer of Ridhima.

Jayanan was particularly impressed with Ridhima's driver shot that covered the highest distance among all junior golfers at the IGU Sub Junior South Zone Golf Championship in April last year in Coimbatore. She won the second playoff by dropping an eagle.

Ridhima, showing her exceptional skills and consistency to stay in the top two of the region, has progressed to the D category from the E level within two years. Her school has also been reassuring her ambition to be a professional golfer and provided her with a scholarship.

Prateek, however, admits the main challenge for him is to manage sponsorships as Ridhima's career, at this point, demands more international exposure. Her only international exposure has so far been an appearance at the Taiwan Open Junior World Championship in 2023.

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