It may not enjoy the mass appeal of cricket, but golf is at an exciting stage in India right now, feels Jason Bierholm, vice-president and managing director of TaylorMade Golf in Asia. In Delhi to launch the TaylorMade Burner 2.0 irons and golf-inspired Ashworth clothing line, Bierholm says India needs to invest in low-priced golf facilities to popularize the game. Edited excerpts from an interview:
What do you make of golf in India today?
Even though golf is growing at a rate of 15% in India, it is still at a nascent stage. The market for this game is small, when compared to the rest of Asia, but still exciting. Even though China is a clear market leader right now, there is a huge potential in India, and in the next 10-15 years, we can expect it to expand tremendously.
What can be done to encourage the growth of the game here?
Iron man: Jason Bierholm. TAILOR-MADE GEAR Burner 2.0 irons. What: A set of eight irons. Price: Graphite set, Rs47,000; steel set, Rs41,000. Available at: Pro shops and exclusive TaylorMade outlets.
India needs investors who can put in funds for the growth of low-priced facilities, for instance, driving ranges that are accessible even to the mid- and lower-income segments of the population. It has often been seen, like in the case of China, that big amounts of money are being invested in high-end golf clubs, which have expensive membership fees and are therefore accessible only to the well-heeled.
Where in India are the big golf markets?
Golf is most popular in north India, with about 50% of our business concentrated here. The NCR (National Capital Region) region itself comprises 35% of the market, with Chandigarh making for another 15%. The next big market for us is Bangalore.
Why should a globe-trotting golfer buy clubs from India when he can pick and choose from a wide variety of clubs abroad?
Buying a golf set is quite like buying a suit—the right fit will take your performance to another level. A golfer’s game keeps evolving, and for any adjustments to the clubs, it is advisable to go to your local dealer. Plus, clubs bought here will come with a warranty, which makes it easier to have any problem sorted.
How big a role does technology play in a skill-based game like golf?
Technology can play a big role in the performance of a golfer. While the basic skills definitely need to be there, the right technology can help a golfer improve his game by a few notches, propelling the player to the next level. At the end of the day, every golfer, whether professional or amateur, wants to play better, and technology helps with that.
Also See | Heads & Tales
Write to us at email@example.com