The US Kids Golf Tour India, which kicked off in 2018 mainly in and around the country’s capital, is set to expand into western and southern India.
Hand in hand, the newly formed US Kids Golf Asia will host its first series in Singapore with six tournaments starting June 13.
At home, USKG India will watch six events in the North Zone, followed by another six in the West and South.
“The series will soon expand to other Asian countries,” Rajesh Srivastava, president of US Kids Golf India, who is also president of US Kids Golf Asia, said Saturday in Delhi.
“We are expanding our reach in the South and West, and by 2024 we will add the East Zone to the calendar.
Opening the door
“With 24 local events and regional finals in each zone, plus an Indian Championship, this will be the way to the European and World Children’s Championships in the US.
“The Asian Championships are also on the anvil, and the events will also feature American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) stars to help young people play in more US events as well as gain an advantage in getting into US golf colleges,” he added.
In March 2023, the US Kids Golf Foundation, the primary organizer of nearly 1,500 USKG events in nearly 50 countries, appointed Srivastava as president of US Kids Golf Asia.
Dan Van Horn, president and founder of US Kids Golf LLC and Foundation, previously authorized USKG India to operate golf activities under its banner.
Van Horn wrote to USKG India saying, “Rajesh Srivastava, president of US Kids Golf India, is authorized and responsible for leading and finalizing partnerships with various golf oriented entities across Asia for the US Kids Golf Foundation.”
“We want to give our young and talented golfers the chance to play on the best courses not only in India but also beyond,” Srivastava said.
An important exhibition
“For example, the European Children’s Golf Championships in the US are held on courses such as Renaissance, which hosts the Scottish Genesis Championships co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.
“Imagine the experience kids will have playing golf courses that have seen stars like Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and more.
“We do not want young golfers in the future to play on such courses as they develop their careers,” he added.
Top PGA Tour golfers such as Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, and Indian Sahith Theegala Reddy played in US Kids Golf tournaments in their early years.
Indian celebrities who have participated in the series include Aditi Ashok and two-time national champion Avani Prashanth,
Events in North India will continue under the direction of tournament director Amit Dube. Rahul Ganapathy from Bangalore is TD in the South and Amit Nigam in the West Zone.
All three are well-known coaches and former professional golfers.
USKG India mainly held tournaments at the Classic Golf and Country Club near Gurgaon. The series will now also include the Delhi Golf Club and golf courses in Bangalore, Pune and Ahmedabad.
14 for European C-ships
Based on the results from the 2022 season, 14 youngsters from different parts of India qualified for the European Children’s Championships in the USA.
The list includes Harjai, the son of Indian golf legend Jeev Milkha Singh, who often acted as caddy for his 13-year-old son.
boys: Nihaal Cheema (U7 boys); Veeramachani Adit (Boys 9); Vidit Aggarwal and Aarnav Patel (10 boys); Paranjaay Mahtani (boys 11); Devvrat Singh Rajawat and Rayan Sao (boys 12 years old); Vihaan Jain, Jivraj Khurana, Harjai Milkha Singh and Arshvant Srivastava (boys 13).
Girls: Naina Kapoor (11-year-old girls); Ananyaa Sood (girls 12 years old); Mahreen Bhatia (girls 14 years old).