A conversation between 2 National Amateur Champions

A conversation between 2 National Amateur Champions
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Here is an interesting conversation between two national champions, Trishul Chinnappa – winner of the All India Amateur Championship 2014, and Aryan Roopa Anand who is the back-to-back All India Amateur Champion 2020 and 2022. This conversation was conducted to inspire younger golfers and give them a first hand experience of listening to two youngsters who have made this sport their life. At the time of this conversation Trishul would’ve been 25 years old and Aryan, 18.

Trishul Chinnappa: So Aryan, you’ve just come off your win at the All India, the 119th All India Amateur Championship, and it’s one of the oldest, if not the oldest, amateur championship in the entire world. Growing up in Mysore and Bangalore, what does this mean to you? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: It means a lot, honestly. When I took up the sport in my town, I really didn’t know where I was headed, and even once I moved to Bangalore, I really didn’t know if this was going to lead to anything. 

Trishul Chinnappa: How long ago did you take it up? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: I was 8, now I’m 18, so it’s been a decade of golf for me, but I really think I felt like I had a future only about five years back. Until then, I was just trying to see if I can play, if I am good enough. And I feel the right kind of people around you make a lot of difference. You yourself are not enough. You need someone to tell you constantly that you are good enough. You have potential to make it big. And I felt like I had the right kind of people around me. 

Trishul Chinnappa: If you don’t mind speaking about them, who are they for you? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: Definitely my parents. Tarun Sir  has played a major role because for the first seven months when I moved to Bangalore, I used to practice at KGA. I am still hard working, I was very hardworking back then, coming off from school, I used to have 3 hours to practice and I used to spend 3 hours on the range, beating balls, hitting putts, but I never really had any direction. It was just all blind. 

Trishul Chinnappa: But you were still working with him? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: No, I wasn’t, I wasn’t. So one day Tarun sir decided to walk up to me, walk up to my mom, actually, and asked her if he could train me for a year and see how things go. And I feel that transition triggered a lot of things which ended up being me winning the All India Amateur Championship through the academy that he has set up today. So I just feel like it’s been a very good journey. I’ve learned at every step. I’ve not been the best at my age categories, but I’ve always improved, improved year on year, there’s always been progress. And I largely credit Tarun Sir  because he’s been managing my progress, how I take things with golf. He has played a large part in my personal life as well, with me handling situations, handling my parents at times, handling other people, other distractions. I feel it’s been a great learning, it’s been a great couple of years. 

Trishul Chinnappa: Right! And for someone who is 17! Not too many 17-year-olds are playing on the amateur tour while still a junior. You live in, if I may say, a fairly controlled environment where you have all the time that you want to hone your craft, to work at the game of golf. You have an amazing team of sports science, and strength and conditioning who take care of your fitness aspect. You work with a nutritionist. But I also feel like at some level, you may not be living or leading the life that’s normal for a 15 or 17-year-old. You don’t go out every weekend. It’s, of course, a decision that you’ve made. Sky’s the limit for you now that you’ve just unleashed yourself on the amateur circuit. But what does it mean to you to have decided to stay in an environment like this? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: So my priority has always been golf over everything else. So I feel like I set my priorities right early, so I knew what I had to do. I knew what was more important to me. 

Trishul Chinnappa: Is it always easy to make this decision? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: No, not at all. Not at all. There have been days where I’m burned, I’ve been through, like, a war, and there are days where I just want to relax and have fun, be a normal teenager. But I know where I want to see myself in the future. And that drives me every day to do the same thing again and again and again. No matter how bored I get, I feel like doing it more, so it’s definitely tough. I went to school till my 10th grade, then I did open schooling till 12th. I have friends who are having fun. They’re having a good time, they’re enjoying life. It really makes me feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things. I really want to go out with them too. I want to have fun, but I feel like this is just for now. I prefer looking at the bigger picture. Of course, there are days where I want to go out, and I do. I make sure that I lead a normal life as well. But I know where to set the line. I know where the boundary is. 

Trishul Chinnappa: If you were to talk to an Aryan that was ten years younger than you are or to any kid who is ten years younger than you are today, and they are on the brink of not knowing whether to take up the sport seriously if it’s a career decision that they can make. I see a lot of parents who aren’t very sure if golf can be a viable career option. 

Aryan Roopa Anand: Correct. 

Trishul Chinnappa: And you yourself are on the brink of turning pro at some point in the next coming years, what would you say to them? What would you say to a younger kid right now? 

Aryan Roopa Anand: When I started off, there weren’t too many events that I could play. It was just the Zonal events. Probably six events a year. Seven events a year if I was lucky. These days, there are so many mini tours. There are smaller tours. I feel if I had this six, seven, eight years back, I would have had a different sort of experience.

Trishul Chinnappa: And I played a lot fewer junior events as compared to you. 

Aryan Roopa Anand: Yeah. I can understand. I mean, when you started, which was probably another five, six years before me, I don’t know what the situation was. The mini tours take you to bigger events internationally. I feel there are so many more opportunities today. And as kids, I feel they should play a lot of golf. It’s not only about hitting the range and hitting ball after ball. At the end of the day, it’s about going out there and trying and playing your best. And I feel you learn way more when you’re in a tournament competing than just hitting balls on the driving range. Because you can be the best player on the range and you can be nothing on the course, but at the end of the day, it’s the course that matters. 

Trishul Chinnappa: I’d rather be nothing on the range. 

Aryan Roopa Anand: Yeah, exactly. If I were to say something to mini-me or someone who’s coming up, it would be to take advantage of the opportunities they’re getting at TSG academy or wherever you are training. Never back away. Never give up on something they can actually achieve. Even if you’re having a bad day, a bad week, it’s not about giving up or sulking. It’s about facing that challenge and knowing I am good, I can do it, I will do it. It’s about that. I mean, there have been situations where I have also doubted myself, but I feel I never really gave up, gave up on myself or gave up on my dreams. 

Trishul Chinnappa: Can you elaborate on one of such experiences. 

Aryan Roopa Anand: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been playing decent golf lately, but probably around October at a couple of events where I just couldn’t find my rhythm, I doubted myself. It happened in 2019, right before I won the Gujarat Amateur. So there were obviously things in my head, I was wondering, what’s happening? I’m doing the work, I am here in a controlled environment. I have my trainers who are looking at me every day, I have my coaches who are monitoring me. Why isn’t it happening? But the thing is, you have to be very patient. You have to be patient. And I feel golf really teaches you that a lot. I just never felt like not giving up. What drives me to get up every day at 5:30, and hit the range for six, seven hours is because I want to achieve my end goal, which is to become the world’s number one golfer. So that poster on my wardrobe which tells me that I have to become the world’s number one golfer is what helps me get up and push every day. There are going to be a lot of situations where your parents are asking you, questioning you, you’ll have other people, you’ll have other things, and it’s going to bother you. You are human, it’s natural. I’m sure you have been there. I have been there, we’ve all been there. But you’ll have to look at the brighter side. It’s just a phase. 

Trishul Chinnappa: And what do the next five or six years look for you? What are you looking to do in the next couple of years, if not the next five to six years? What are your ambitions? Apart from, of course, I know turning pro is on your mind and has been. Do you want to speak about why you haven’t chosen to turn pro despite winning the All India Amateur Championship?  

Aryan Roopa Anand: Yeah, so, I mean, I really didn’t want to judge myself over the course of two events and two closing events. I really feel I have to mature more as a golfer. More than that, I feel I need to play more events internationally. I mean, I’ve barely played any events, any international events. I feel I should be able to go out there and win. 

Trishul Chinnappa: You are the Singapore Amateur winner. 

Aryan Roopa Anand: Singapore Junior Championship is what I won. But the thing is, I feel representing the country, going with the team, it means a lot. It might not show up on your CV, probably six, seven years down the line, but it’s still a memory that you will carry. 

The End

Aryan Roopa Anand continues to work hard and train at Tarun Sardesai Golf Academy. Our academy is for aspiring professional golfers and professionals alike.  The focus is on developing well-rounded golfers who can excel both on and off the course. Our dedicated team of coaches, trainers, and support staff work together to provide a comprehensive training program. We believe in creating an environment where young golfers can thrive and reach their full potential. 

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