Its The Subtle Nuances That You Have To Learn

Updated: Aug 31 2003, 05:30am hrs
GOLF can be addictive. And thats quite evident in the way Virag Joshi, CEO of Devyani International Pvt. Ltd, Pizza Hutss North India franchisee, is hooked on to it.

Even though Mr Joshi is only a weekend player, he plays hard for six hours each on Saturdays and Sundays. My entire weekend is spent at the Jaypee Greens golf course in Greater Noida, he says. Golf will stay with him forever, he pledges. Once he retires, he plans to spend at least seven hours each day playing golf.

Despite his evident enthusiasm, Mr Joshi was a late starter on the greens. He started playing golf only two years ago, when he was tutored by Jasjit Singh, a professional at Jaypee Greens. Today, he plays 15 over par. I play 15 over par and Tiger Woods plays 15 under par, he laughs out aloud.

But Mr Singh, his trainer, says, Its pretty good, considering golf is a game that only gets better with practice. Mr Joshis handicap is 15, the best players in India play at a 10 or 12 handicap. Says Mr Joshi, Playing golf is the easiest if one has to simply go to the course and play, but it is the technicalities and subtle nuances that you have to learn. Like, the way to swing your golf club.

After playing active games like table tennis and cricket, Mr Joshi switched to golf because he realised that this was one game he could continue to play even when he was older. It is good for your mind, it enables you to relax, he says.

Playing golf serves two purposes for Mr Joshi. He says, Golf requires you to walk around 6-7km to complete the 18 holes at a very slow pace, and it helps keep you very engaged. More than that, it enhances my corporate profile. But he hastens to add that he does not play golf for professional reasons. I love to play with friends. While most corporates are not professionals, they play for corporate networking. But I dont play for networking, I just like to play with my friends and relax.

Jaypee Greens, a designer course set up by Australian golfer Greg Norman, is Mr Joshis favourite golf course. I love the ambience. It has lots of waterbodies and slopes, which make it difficult for the player. The other course he has played on is the Gymkhana golf course in Delhi.

Above all, Mr Joshi likes Jaypee Greens because it offers something to do for everyone in his family. He says, While I am playing, my children cycle and swim and my wife uses the state-of-the-art gym.

Which are his favourite players Arjun Atwal and Jeev Singh, he says without blinking. Vijay Singh of Fiji, one of the best in the world, does not escape mention either. These professionals are mostly judged on the basis of the tournaments that they play in as also the prize money they win. Their handicap is usually quite low, but that is not the only criterion.

Mr Joshi likes the best in terms of golf equipmentCalaway. I could have used signature equipment designed by world famous golfers like Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, which are normally found in pro shops, but Calaway is still the best, he asserts.

For him, a caddie is an important part of his golf round. Caddies really guide you if you are not a professional, says Mr Joshi. I always take the same caddie, and he guides me whenever I am in difficulties.

Mr Joshi agrees that if given a chance, caddies can become excellent players. He stresses, Nearly half of the professionals were caddies before. And why in golf only Even in tennis, John McEnroe was a ball boy!