2013: World Masters of Junior Golf
2015: Junior World Golf Championships
2016: European Junior Championship
2017: West Bengal Junior Boys Golf Championship 2017
I assumed that the voice on the other side of the phone would be one that carried all that pride and might, considering the number of awards he’s one at such a young age. But what I heard instead was a voice filled with humility and modesty.
This is what defines this 13-year-old child prodigy Shubham Jaglan – one of India’s finest young golfers. When you hear the word golf, your mind automatically associates it with thoughts of power, affluence, and a high life, those hallowed greens on which only the society’s elite tread foot. And you’d often be right, for those are the exact odds that this young boy from the village Israna, Panipat, fought to win his rightful place on the green.
Shubham Jaglan’s tryst with golf began when he was just 5 years old. Hailing from a family and village of wrestlers, Shubham had assumed that he would also follow suit. Wearing a polo t-shirt and wielding a golf club wasn’t something that Shubham had dreamed of.
It was a golf academy established in Shubham’s village by Kapur Singh, an NRI, that changed the course of this young boy’s life.
“I remember my grandfather taking me to the academy and asking me to give it a shot. He wanted me to try this sport and not be a wrestler like everyone else. It was his foresight that has brought me here,” he says. The academy unfortunately wasn’t well-received by the other children in the village and shut down in just two months. But before leaving the village, Kapur Singh told Shubham’s father about the golfing talent his son possessed.
While the academy shut down prematurely, it lit a spark of interest in Shubham. All of 5 years then, he continued his fight on a small piece of land in his backyard. His father, Jagpal, cleaned and transformed the land with flat green covering and 3 holes.
“My father also got me a computer and I started watching videos on YouTube and learnt to putt. On weekends, my father would take me to Karnal Golf Course to practice.”
Shubham’s father would also bring him to the Delhi Golf Club, one of India’s premier golf clubs, to practise.
It was this journey that brought Shubham in contact with his mentor and the founder of The Golf Foundation, Amit Luthra.
Recounting his first meeting with Shubham and his father, Amit says, “His [Shubham] father had sought an appointment with me. He walked in and said he needed some help. He told me that his son had been debarred from playing golf and wanted me to intervene. I remember thinking to myself that maybe it was a case of cheating that had led to his debarment. His father then told me that his son was all of five-and-a-half years of age and that is when I sat up and said, tell me more.”
That was the first time that Shubham came to be known to Amit and The Golf Foundation. The debarment was not just of Shubham but the entire programme that was being run for kids under 8 by the golf club. “I was told that the greens were being spoilt by these kids who would stop for milk and biscuit breaks while playing their game,” says Amit.
“I saw him play and knew that he had a good swing but wanted Nonita Lal Qureshi, our head coach, to evaluate him from his technical know-how. She went to his village and the rest, as they say, is history.”
From then, there has been no looking back for Shubham. With the help of The Golf Foundation, his father decided to move base to Delhi to spend more time on polishing Shubham’s talent. Shubham was enrolled in Laxman Public School and started practice at the Delhi Golf Club.
“Moving to Delhi has been great. Not only do I get to practice in one of the best clubs but I am also going to a good school.”
When asked what his future plan are, he says, “I wish to keep playing well, maybe attend college, but the focus is to keep improving my game.”
The Callaway World Championship, now called the IMG Junior World Championship, which was held in San Diego in 2015, is one that Shubham cherishes the most.
“That was a close finish for me. The way I won it was what I cherish. It was also the first time I felt that I could perform and give my best under the gun.”
Shubham’s biggest supporter is his father, Jagpal. “He is always with me to ensure that I put my best foot forward. He is a nurturer; he took care of my uncle when he was wrestling. He would take him for the tournaments, make his food, ensure the nutritional count in his food was good and now he is with me doing all this and more.”
Shubham’s aim is to reach higher than his dreams and be better than the best.