Sentosa, Singapore, March 26: It’s a Sunday afternoon and usually a day where the chase for sporting glory on the golf course is often foremost on their minds.
But with a virus that has little care about the movement on the leaderboard and has forced the lockdown of countries, closed borders and grounded planes, those Sunday aspirations and golf clubs have to be put away for a while.
The COVID-19 is virtually changing many aspects of everyone’s lives. But amid these unprecedented times, a beacon of joy has shone through very brightly.
Those lonely yearn for family and home comforts whenever they are away is gone and is liberating.
Away from the media glare, greeting the public and handling the pressures on the golf course, players like Gunn Charoenkul have finally found the time for peace and bonding with the people that matters most to him.
“While I hope to go back to the golf course really soon, I’m also enjoying my off season now and the time spent with my family is priceless,” said Gunn, who welcomed the arrival of his baby daughter, Vera in February and is relishing his new role as a full-time father now.
That bonding is infectious as India’s Anirban Lahiri, the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion is also enjoying his time away from the golf course.
He said: “I’m staying fit by working out, keeping myself updated with the news as well as playing some computer games. Above all, I’m enjoying my time with wife and my daughter, who is absolutely amazing to play with.”
Even as the virus has upend the golfing world with their careers coming to a standstill for now, the benefits of being homebound can be far-reaching too.
For Rahil Gangjee, who staged one of his career’s greatest comeback by winning the Panasonic Open Golf Championship in 2018, it could even mean unearthing a future golfing star too.
“I spent the last couple of days playing golf with my friend’s 10-year-old son who is showing a lot of promise. So who knows? Those two intense sessions of four hours with him each day may just unveil a star in the making.
“I also decided to stay in Kolkata with Mom. So, she has company and I also have company (and great food)! If I sit and do nothing I will put on weight, so I train and work out also. But of course, I also watch a lot of Netflix,” said Gangjee.
The coronavirus pandemic has left many with time on their hands with tournaments being postponed and golf courses closed now.
But as they combat a faceless enemy, it is the comforts of home that ultimately provide that sanctuary and safe haven for seasoned globetrotters like Shubhankar Sharma.
“As a professional golfer, one does not get much time with the family, but right now this is a good opportunity to spend time at home with them and catching up with a good read,” said the 2018 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.