Young amateur golfer Afia Sarkar urges men, women and youngsters to come to golf and enrich their lives
Q: When did you start playing golf? Tell us a bit about your golfing journey so far?
A: I started when I was six years old and it’s been 15 years since. My dad used to play golf and then my mom also joined in. They brought us here. My mom guided me and persisted that I play. It became a part of my childhood and now a part of my life. I played junior level till I was 12 and we had a community of youngsters. We had a great time back then, both regarding golf and outside of it. Then I joined the ladies’ group when I was around 14/15 years old and I felt I needed to increase my competitiveness. It was a good time too. It was more challenging when playing against older people.
Q: What has golf taught you in life?
A: I will urge everybody to come and enjoy the environment. It’s very safe, disciplined and well regulated. You will have a good time. This is a mentally stimulating game where you improve everyday by challenging yourself against yourself. I feel most women should try to reach their goal, and golf is a great way to achieve that. You can make friends, have a pastime and support each other out which eventually empower women.
The practice facilities here are brilliant. The practice range is open almost every day. Whether you’re a working lady/man or you’re studying, it gives you respite from the pollution and hassle of city life. The environment here has a kind of de-stressing impact on you. Your intelligence level will grow too because golf teaches you planning, patience and grows your maturity.
Q: Do you have a message for golfers?
A: My message would be that we’ve been playing this game for so long and we’ve formed such a wonderful community with diverse range of people, it is because of people like Siddikur Rahman, Shakhawat Sohel or Zamal Mollah and amateurs like us, that this game is growing. I would ask the youngsters to keep at what they are doing because you don’t know one day you might become a Siddikur Rahman or even better. I used to get encouraged watching Mr Sohel and Mr Jakir. So you play your game and the next generation will get encouraged. Women should also feel that golf is something you can do. If all of us continue this trend, Bangladesh will reach a high level in golf.
Q: And what about people who haven’t come to golf yet?
A: I would ask them to come and see the game and the environment, try the game a bit. I can guarantee that if you play the game there is something you can learn, you will enjoy the environment and form a community of people you will know for the rest of your life. So it’s a fantastic way to have your individual growth as well as social growth and being empowered as a human being. I feel this sport has something to offer for everybody.