Ashbeer Saini and Trishul Chinnappa equally comfortable with a hockey stick in hand
Indian professional golfers Ashbeer Saini and Trishul Chinnappa also happen to be skilled hockey players.
Ashbeer and Trishul hailing from two traditional bastions of Indian hockey, Punjab and the Coorg region of Karnataka respectively, one would have expected them to have the sport in their genes. However, both players who have represented India in golf at the junior & amateur levels, have their own stories as to how they took to the sport of hockey.
Kapurthala-based Ashbeer Saini, a winner on the PGTI Feeder Tour in 2018, comes from a family of hockey players of international repute. Saini’s father Balwinder Singh and uncle Baljit Singh Saini (two-time Olympian and 1998 Bangkok Asian Games Gold Medalist) have both played hockey for India. So, it was natural for Ashbeer to take to hockey.
Ashbeer said, “I used to play hockey regularly till I was about 10 years old. But at the same time on the weekends I would play golf with my father. It was then that Gaganjeet Bhullar’s father Mr. Harbhajan Bhullar was impressed by my golf swing and advised my father to make me pursue golf seriously.
“Even now after becoming a professional golfer, I enjoy playing hockey at home in Kapurthala on Mondays when the golf course is closed. It’s something that helps me with my fitness and also helps me relax,” added Saini, who generally plays in the forward line.
Trishul Chinnappa, who grew up and went to school in Bengaluru, was passionate about sports from the very start and thus played multiple sports including golf and hockey through his years of schooling. Chinnappa was introduced to golf by his father at the tender age of three and went on to play the sport at the international level. But being a keen sportsman, he also played a lot of competitive hockey at the school level.
Trishul, who like Ashbeer also plays as a forward in hockey, said, “My ancestral home Coorg has a rich legacy in hockey and as a result some of my family members did play the sport. However, I took up hockey while at school in Bengaluru as I was always very athletic and enjoyed playing multiple sports.
“I still play hockey whenever I get time as it’s a lot of fun, involves a lot of athleticism and keeps my adrenaline going. It also adds value for a golfer like me as it contributes in improving my fitness, hand-eye coordination and ball sense.”
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.
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