Growing aspirations

When Anshika Singh (’18) steps onto a golf course, all her attention and focus are devoted to her swing.

At the age of 8, Singh was introduced to the sport by her dad – a golfer himself – and instantly fell in love with the game.

Now playing regularly, Singh spends many hours on the golf course and has achieved a handicap of 8. A handicap is a certain number of strokes a player removes from his or her total score for a round; the lower the handicap the less points are deducted and the better a player is. To put Singh’s handicap into perspective, the current average handicap for all women golfers in the US is 29.

As described by her coach Luke Willett, “[Singh] is an aggressive golfer, taking advantage of the super long distances she hits the ball” he said. Willett has noticed her improvement and dedication to the sport, and calls her a rewarding, humble and enthusiastic player.

While Singh’s father initially introduced her to the sport, her drive to improve her game has been solely self-motivated. “My parents supported me through the whole process. They didn’t pressure me into golf, and encouraged me to become and do whatever I wanted to,” Singh said.

With her passion, Singh has high hopes for her future in golf as she aspires to continue to play the sport throughout high school and college. “I want to join ASL’s team and play as much golf as I can outside of school. I do want to win a really big tournament and I want to continue and go to college on a golf scholarship,” Singh said.

Willett also sees Singh’s future having a positive outcome. “The sky’s the limit, though like all good sportsmen and women, [Singh] will need to put the practice time in. One thing that is for sure is [she] has the talent,” Willett said. Since the ASL golf teams’ inception in the early 2000s, there has been a scarcity of female golfers, despite the program being open to boys and girls. Singh hopes to be one of the few girls to have represented ASL at ISSTs this season.

Having moved to London from Doha in August 2014, Singh recently made the county golf team in London with the help of her current golf club, Ealing Golf Club, and Willett. Singh was invited to tryout for the county team along with 20 golfers, aged 10 to 18, after they heard of her ability through her golf club.

“Every year golf clubs are asked to put forward their best golfers for the county trials and Anshika is Ealing’s number one junior girl,” Willett said.

Over four days of tryouts, the golfers were tested physically through flexibility and strength testing, while also competing in a round of golf, which was watched and evaluated by coaches. After a series of successful tryouts, Singh was admitted onto the team, which she now views as one of her greatest accomplishments.

“I was confident about my tryouts for the county team. I knew there were girls who had better handicaps, but I felt like I was in a good place with my game,” Singh said.

Singh’s biggest achievement in golf, however, remains finishing second in the Albatross Junior Golf Tournament in India, in 2012. The tournament is an international tournament for players aged between 6-18, and is divided into five categories based on age. Singh competed in the “C” division, for 11-12 year olds. For Singh, finishing second was an “overwhelming and totally unexpected” experience.

“I was extremely nervous and thought I couldn’t place in the top 10. After playing the first round, I was very happy with my game, and I felt much more confident. The competition was held at one of my home courses, so I felt like I had an advantage in terms of knowing each hole and its greens,” Singh said.

Despite her accomplishments, Singh’s move from Doha to London has posed considerable challenges to her game. Citing the weather as a primal struggle, Singh admits the playing conditions in Doha were generally better.

“The weather was a big challenge because I have never played in such cold conditions before; I’ve always played in 40 degrees Celsius. That was a really big challenge, and [the cold weather] limits your distance for your shot, which can potentially be a problem,” Singh said.

Spending many hours on the course not only challenges Singh physically, but also mentally. “Physically, the main thing is you need to be flexible. But mentally you have to be very strong. You have to be a great [player], you need to be patient, and have great sportsmanship,” Singh said. “No matter how bad you play, you always have to think positively and think about what you have to do ahead of the game.”

While Singh hopes to be a part of the ASL golf team for the upcoming spring season and continue to play on the county team, she remains conscious of balancing golf with other sports. “I feel that if I play too much golf I could potentially get fed up with it and not enjoy it anymore, so I want to keep a balance,” Singh said.

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