In Arizona, Noida girl Anika Varma gets a taste of golf in times of pandemic


Written by Nitin Sharma
| Chandigarh |

Updated: April 14, 2020 12:50:44 am

After ending a credible fifth final week, Anika Varma has now moved to Sun City in Arizona the place she shall be in motion on the Union Hills Golf Course. (Source: Paige Lee)

Golfers on the greens have been requested to keep up a six-feet distance. They weren’t allowed to speak to one another, a strict no-contact coverage was in place. Every participant obtained an unique golf cart that was washed and bleached after every spherical every single day. The tin cups in any respect holes have been full of foam in order that the golfers didn’t need to dip their hand too deep to take out the ball after a putt. The washroom doorways on the venue have been by no means shut and each carton the course was filled with disinfectant wipes and sanitisers.

Noida girl Anika Varma, 15, obtained a really feel of golf in the course of the coronavirus pandemic when she participated in a Cactus Tour occasion — a collection of tournaments for professionals and newbie gamers — at Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States. “Once I start playing the game, I am entirely focused on golf. The precautions of no-contact policy and sanitising were at first a bit abnormal but vital to prevent the spread of the virus and also to continue playing the sport,” says Anika.

Arizona takes its golf critically. While all massive {golfing} tournaments world wide, together with the US Open, have been cancelled or postponed, Arizona hasn’t but shut its greens. Since the corona outbreak, the game has been banned in 14 American states, a choice that closed 40 p.c of the full 16,000 golf programs. However, final month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, whereas asserting restrictions listed the exceptions that included mountaineering, biking, and actions on the 300 golf programs in the state.

On Monday, the Arizona State Health Department put the quantity of COVID-19 optimistic instances there at 3,539 and the dying depend at 115. The corresponding general numbers for the US have reached 5.5 lakh and 20,000 respectively. Despite this semi golf-lockdown in the US, Anika is busy. After ending a credible fifth final week at Apache Creek Golf Course, she has now moved to Sun City in Arizona the place she is going to participate in a tour occasion at Union Hills Golf Course.

For the younger Indian golfer, the journey from Noida to Arizona has been lengthy. It was to facilitate the training of Anika’s elder sister Akaansha that the Varmas moved to California final 12 months in June. Once in the US, Anika enrolled at Granite Bay High School at Roseville, California and began working with coach Noah Montgomery, who trains nine-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar. Last 12 months, Anika obtained the perfect newbie trophy with a fifth-place end in the Indian Open at Gurgaon. It was on Montgomery’s recommendation that the dad and mom took a 13-hour highway journey to Arizona.

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Anika Varma participated in a Cactus Tour occasion at Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States. (Source: Paige Lee)

Mother Sonal speaks in regards to the significance of golf to the household and the way the virus outbreak had made issues tough for them. “I have been in USA with my two daughters since last June. The situation in California was under control when we left. We made sure that we had disinfectant wipes and sanitisers with us. As an amateur, Anika does not get too much of professional golf, so this outing was important. We had a family discussion and after that booked an Airbnb in Arizona. We undertook a 13-hour car trip after consultations and followed all safety measures,” she says.

Montgomery, a former police officer, can be accompanying Anika. His 16-year-old daughter Hanna can be a participant in the match. He too underplays the chance of enjoying golf throughout a pandemic.“The Cactus Tour is a developmental tour, so we don’t have any spectators walking, which contributes towards social distancing. Every state and county (districts) follow their own set of rules and guidelines. At present, I can only speak about Arizona, where golf courses are open to play with the safety measures in place. Playing against some LPGA golfers has added to Anika’s confidence. As a coach, I aim to provide my students with a well-rounded training and that’s what this tour provides us,” says Montgomery.

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Anika says it was as a result of of her dad and mom that she may assume of travelling to this match. “My parents were supportive of my decision to play golf in Arizona. Adjustments like the use of foam and other things are essential precautions to maintain health safety for the players. The tour committee has also made sure that the carts are washed with bleach and water every day. My coach helped me adjust to this new way of training during this outbreak. He helped me realise that everyone is fighting the outbreak in their own way,” {the teenager} shares.

With the coronagraph refusing to flatten in the US, the quantity of golfers collaborating in each occasion on the Cactus Tour has gone down from 40’s to lower than 20. Mother Sonal is conserving a shut watch on the state pointers and newest COVID-19 developments. “When we decided to travel to Arizona, our relatives in India were worried. But they understood our decision. We are as safe here as in any other place. I would say we are safer than my elder daughter, who attends university, works at her labs and goes for groceries in California. If something was not right, as a parent, I would not let Anika play,” says Sonal.

Anika Varma along with her father Sonel Varma. (Source: Paige Lee)

While Sonal ensures that Anika attends all her on-line courses whereas travelling for golf, father Sonel drives Anika’s cart on the course. “With no crowd at the courses, her father is taking care of driving her cart and I follow in another one. I can see them discussing golf. We will take it week by week and decide whether or not to continue,” says the mom.

Is there something that Anika misses throughout these restrictive times?

“Anika is a talkative player on the course and that’s what she is missing these days,” provides Sonal.

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