Asian Games 2018: 10,000 hours of practice isn't enough for India's latest golfing star
17-year-old Aadil Bedi is hitting the mark with his recent entry to the Indian National Team for the Asian Games 2018. Achieving this wasn't easy as we find out in this tell-all interview, but the lad from Chandigarh defied all odds and achieved victory on the greens. A journey that started when he was just 4, has led him to become the youngest Indian in history to compete in the Golf team for the Asian Games, winning 170 medals and trophies in 286 tournaments and events. So, now, let's dive straight into our conversation with Aadil.
Aadil Bedi- credits to Aadil Bedi Records
Congratulations Aadil on being selected for the Indian Golf team for the Asian Games 2018. At such a young age, you have been selected to represent Indian colours. How do you feel and what are your expectations for the tournament? How are your preparations for this tournament going on? Is it really different from your preparation for other tournaments?
I think that the journey has just begun now. Although my dad used to design the golf calendar for me to prepare for Junior World Cup at the USA every year, this year I am not going to the USA as I am preparing for my Asian games at DLF country club Gurgaon. We practised a lot for USA every year as the IGU circuit does not have any matches between July to September and I used to spend my summer in the USA playing the big league every year.
Now, let's go back a bit into your earlier days. How did it all start for you? Why did you continue playing golf and what keeps you motivated in the sport?
My parents were officers with the Government and were posted at 'Fategarh Sahib' (40 km from Chandigarh). My father was an addicted golfer. He used to go to golf every day in the evening to Chandigarh. I use to accompany him most of the times for the cold drink and chips.
He used to play Civil Service tournaments and other social events. Slowly, I developed an interest in the game at the age of 4. Then, my father quit his own game and started planning and developing my game with the assistance of coaches and experts. Initially, I used to practice golf at the football ground behind my house at Fatehgarh Sahib. I used to make the flag with an iron rod and with mom’s Duppata and hit sand wedges before my family finally shifted to Chandigarh and I started practising at the CGA golf range Chandigarh.
How do you go about your training now and what are the key aspects that are involved in it? Are there some unconventional training methods for golfers used these days to improve your performance?
At present, I am working with Dr. Gurmeet Singh, Former Director of Sports, Punjab University Chandigarh, on athletics, kin-aesthetic senses, motor qualities, and speed training.
On the other side, I am working with Mr. Sagar Diwan at CGA Golf Range, on indoor fitness through core strength, flexibility, strength endurance, explosive abilities, and motion and range of my body joints.
I am working on my fitness through advice from the Virat Kohli Foundation (Aadil was selected as one of the few sportspersons to be trained under it in late 2017) and Zaher Khan. They gave me the required fitness plans according to my body and game and this is being implemented by both my coaches at Chandigarh.
For specific golf training, my parents have built a hi-tech lab at Forest Hills golf club which includes trackman, Sam Putt Lab and other important sensors to keep an eye on my golf swing. My father learnt a couple of courses to operate trackman and Sam putt lab from the Netherlands. We give our input to my coach Mr. Jesse Grewal at CGA golf range on a weekly basis and I am working on my game in a very scientific way as compared to a non-scientific way earlier. My father and my coach are playing an important role to monitor my swing data on a computer now and are keeping a record of every shot I am hitting on the range now.
How do you balance your school work along with your tournaments? Do you intend on pursuing your studies further after high school or just want to turn pro? I know many golfers look to go for scholarships at different universities in the US. Will you be also thinking about this?
I maintain a balance between my studies and golf very nicely. My school (the Vivek High School, Chandigarh) supports me a lot. My teachers send me the coursework on email. And I study while playing golf. I scored 75% in the 11th grade and scored 78% in 10th grade.
My game is ready for the professional circuit in India. If I don’t go for higher studies in the USA next year after my 12 class from Vivek High School Chandigarh, I might turn professional. I have already signed with one University in the USA. I will review my game in December 2018 with my Dad and then take a final decision by January. My next goal is the Olympic Games of 2020, (Golf has been included in the Games again after a long absence in 2016) for which I have to be in the top merit list of the INDIAN PROFESSIONAL circuit (PGTI). The sooner you start, the more comfortable you become with time as I stopped playing in the junior circuit at the age of 15 and started playing in the Men’s Division.
You have won so many tournaments and championships. Which one has been your most favourite victory and why?
I started participating in the IGU (Indian Golf Union) National Golf circuit at the age of six. Apart from playing all over in India, I have played in Australia, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Dubai, Canada, Thailand, England, and the United States of America. I hold the 750th position in WAGR (World Amateur Golf Ranking) and 2nd Position in the IGU Men’s Division National Merit of 2018. I have already clocked 10000 hours on the golf course so far, but my actual golfing journey started after 10000 hours of practice when I started playing for my country. I would say that my journey has just begun now. It is time for me to make my city and country proud now. My favourite win was the SSG BLR Singapore International match in May 2017, where I shot 10 under and won by a huge margin. There was a thunderstorm and a shower in Singapore and the match was played in tough conditions. It was my first international win.
Who is your inspiration in golf and in life in general?
My parents, school teachers and my coaches Mr Jesse Grewal, Sagar Dewan and Gurmeet Singh played a vital role in my development of the game and in life.
What is your daily routine like and how does it change during your tournaments?
I wake up at 6 am, take my diet and do my fitness work after yoga and meditation. Then I go to the Panchkula golf course and play nine holes. In the evening, I work on my game at Forest hills golf club and work with my father under his Tech Laboratory. Late evening, I work on my swing with my coach Jesse Grewal. For fitness, I do athletics and power fitness alternatively. During the tournament my schedule is different. Keeping in view the country I am playing in and the facility that we have, I adjust my plans. I am very particular about my diet and fitness during my tournaments.
Do you do anything else in your free time to keep yourself busy or just use that time to work more on the various aspects of being a golfer?
In my free time, I stay at school and do all kind of activities which keep me stress-free. I play all sports at school. While I am in school, I don’t think about golf at all. I also study biographies of other athletes. I watch major golf matches on DVD and on YouTube. To keep myself updated I search internet and study about golf in America and Europe.
What do you think about the current golfing scenario in India? Can you tell us a bit about your next tournaments and how do you decide on which ones to participate in?
The Indian Golf Union is supporting and promoting golf in the country very nicely. There are other groups like DLF, Virat Kohli Foundation, etc. that are pouring in with their resources for promoting golf in the country. Hero is also chipping in to support our professional players. Overall, it's good that corporates are 'chipping' in and promoting.
I am going to Singapore in July and preparing to play in Jakarta again in July after Singapore Amateur. IGU is organising this for us with the assistance of SAI. On August 21-23, I am playing Asian games followed by World Amateur Team Championship (WATC)/ Eisenhower Cup at Ireland 5-9 September.
Finally, what message would you like to give to your fans and followers who also want to pursue golf and any other sport at such a high level.
Desire to excel is the key in the life. Without hard work nothing is possible in the life. Moving ahead with zeal and technical way is key to success. Remember there is no shortcut in life.
Time spent in practice counts in life.