Although he is hardly a year into the game, Ishaan Nathani, one of the junior golfers at Eldoret Golf Club, looks like a star in the making.
During the launch of the 2017 Barclays Bank Golf Festival at his home club last weekend, the 14-year-old, 10th grade student at Gulab Lochab School in Eldoret town put a brave fight to produce an impressive 37 points. That score put him joint sixth with some of the regular players such as Kiran Shah and James Komen who claimed the fourth and fifth prizes respectively.
Unfortunately, Nathani could not feature in the prize list because he is yet to be given and official handicap. Talking to Nation Sport in an exclusive interview in the presence of his coach Boniface Simwa, Nathani said he was working hard to make sure that he has an official handicap before the end of the year.
“This is my fourth tournament to play although I play once a week due to my studies. My aim is to get a handicap so that I am able to participate in all the official tournaments here and elsewhere in the country,” said Nathani. According to his coach Simwa, Nathani has great potential to play the game to the highest level.
“He has a fine swing and an excellent short game as well as very solid take off from the tee, which is very important and an asset in golf,” the coach says.
“His biggest problem is managing his game a situation which I am walking on it at the moment before I recommend him for an official handicap,” said Simwa, a former Africa number two amateur who later turned professional.
During the Barclays Bank tournament in Eldoret, which attracted a field of 80 players, Nathani posted 17 and 20 points, a round that included four pars, a few double and single bogeys.
“When you look at his score card, Nathani played better than those who have handicaps and play regularly in club competitions. “That tells you that with a bit of polishing on game management, he will be a great player and I will make sure he achieves his goal,” added Simwa who missed this year’s Uganda Open because of the Barclays Golf Festival at Eldoret.
Before starting playing golf, Nathani tried his hand on football, tennis and badminton which was his favourite sport.
“I have taken more interest in golf now because it is fun, energetic and most captivating. It gives you the challenge and energy you real need in sports,” says Nathani who was introduced into golf by friends of his father who are members of the Eldoret Golf Club.
PLAYING AS MARKER
“My aim is to play serious golf at the top level in the country and I know with the help of the pro, I should be able to join the rest of the leading amateur golfers in the country.
“The pro Simwa has really motivated me a lot and I play better each time I have a lesson with him,” added Nathani, who said he had a good team during the Barclays tournament which made him play well.
“My team-mates real encouraged me despite the fact that they knew I did not have an official handicap and that I was playing as a marker. It was fun playing with them and I liked their attitude.”
With that determination and interest Nathani has shown over the four tournaments so far, certainly the sky is the limit.