Teenager Yadhu Urs has achieved what the Saint Lucia Golf Association (SLGA) described as the most significant achievement in this country’s golf history.
The teenager tied in 19th place in Sunday’s fourth and final round of the Latin American Amateur Championship which featured the best golfers from the region.
“They invited 108 players. After two days of playing half of the players don’t make the cut. We never had a player do that, but last year Yadhu was the first. He ended up in the top thirty-five. This year he broke the top twenty,” SLGA Secretary Habib Chreiki told St Lucia Times.
“I would say this is the greatest golfing achievement in the history of Saint Lucia,” he asserted.
Yadhu, 19, and his family moved to Saint Lucia from Bangalore, India, when he was three.
Chreiki asserted that barring a few mistakes, the teenage golfer would have been among the top ten.
The SLGA Secretary explained that the organisation is pushing to involve more young people in golf.
He pointed to the 8-year-old Grow Well junior programme for Gros Islet youth.
In addition, Chreiki disclosed that a coach from Alabama who was vacationing in Saint Lucia was looking to obtain scholarships for some youngsters.
“We also started with the Sports Academy last year and they’re coming to the Sandals Golf and Country Club twice a week to understand and learn the game,” he told St Lucia Times.
“We also did a few clinics at St Mary’s College and Castries Comprehensive Secondary School last year – nothing formal yet,” the SLGA official disclosed.
However, he revealed plans to meet with the college officials, where some forty students of the learning institution have expressed an interest in golf.
“We are taking baby steps. The goal is eventually to have an inter-secondary school competition and develop more talent like Yadhu’s,” Chreiki stated.
Regarding the perception that golf is a sport for the wealthy, the SLGA Secretary observed that more people are playing the game.
He acknowledged that the ‘game for the wealthy’ perception exists, but felt it was inaccurate.
“Especially during COVID-19, there was a golf boom. People from other sports who couldn’t congregate started playing golf since that was the only sport available to them,” Chreiki explained.
He described golf as an addictive game.
And Chreiki declared that a weekend visit to the golf course would reveal people from all walks of life in attendance.
According to Chreiki, the sport is less expensive than some think and represents a good avenue for young people to expend their energy positively.
“It’s a very sophisticated and deep sport with many elements in terms of discipline, focus, working and controlling your emotions. And golf is surrounded by a community, so you have the players, coaches, administrators, parents – it’s a game where you need mental fortitude,” he told St Lucia Times.
In this regard, the SLGA Secretary said when youngsters realise what the game is about and learn how difficult but satisfying the sport is, it helps them to want to be more disciplined.
“As a golfing fraternity, we also support each other during our highs and lows,” he told St Lucia Times.
Headline photo: Yadhu Urs of Saint Lucia hits a bunker shot during a practice round. Courtesy Latin America Amateur Championship. (Thomas Lovelock).