Diksha Dagar is a rising star from India who claimed her first victory on the LET in just her fourth professional start.
At just 18, Dagar’s win at the South African Open saw her become the youngest Indian to win an event on tour, and it looks as if there is much more to come in future.
Dagar has had a serious hearing impairment since birth but she has not let this affect her ability to compete at the very highest level.
Coached by her father, a former army colonel, her story is a special one. And really, it has only just begun.
Joe Hughes chatted with her to find out more….
First of all, a brilliant win at the SA Open, and so early on in your LET career. What was that experience like?
After my time in Australia playing with other professionals, I learnt a few things and gained experience.
I’ve always had the confidence that I could win a tournament on the LET, but I am pleasantly surprised it happened so early.
Even after the start I had in round one of double bogey, par, double bogey, I never let go of the belief that I could win the tournament.
When it happened I thought, “Wow!”
How have you managed to settle into life on the LET so quickly?
I love golf and I love playing in tough and challenging conditions. I was always eager to play alongside the best players in the world, it excites me a lot. Hence my love for the game.
I haven’t really had any issues adapting to the playing conditions on tour.
So what are your plans for the rest of the season?
The win here has opened some doors for me to play good tournaments and I think I am going to enjoy that on the LET.
How has your game got to where it is today and where does this win rank among your career achievements?
I have played some good golf in the past couple of years as an amateur, but this win is really special and I feel my game is evolving with experience of playing on different courses in different conditions
I am thankful to the Indian Golf Union for providing me with so many opportunities as an amateur in India.
In terms of achievements, I think it is just the beginning for me, but this win is the best possible start.
And all with a hearing impairment…
I have profound deafness, but I am lucky enough to have hearing equipment.
Does it affect your balance?
I really don’t know about the affects of it on my balance, but I know for sure I am quite alright with whatever I have in terms of hearing.
Has your impairment held you back at all in terms of communication or self-confidence?
I feel and consider myself to be a normal human being on par with everybody in terms of all aspects including communication and find no reason of not to be confident in myself.
Have you ever had an experience where your aid has not worked?
Yes, sometimes there are issues with my hearing aid, but I know how to cope with it and I try to be more aware visually.
How special was it to have your dad on the bag for your first LET victory?
My parents are very dear to me as they have supported my golf throughout my life, so to have my dad on the bag for the first victory is obviously very, very special.
How did you get into golf?
My dad is a passionate sports person and an army man.
He encouraged my brother and I to participate and do various outdoor activities and sports from the very beginning.
Golf happened to be the one which I liked the most and I settled for it.
Once I started playing junior tournaments through the Indian Golf Union and started winning, I got more interested.
The early international exposure given by the Indian Golf Union also helped me get into the game.
When did you decide that professional golf was the path you wanted to go down?
I wanted to play this game at the highest level with the best players in the world from the very beginning.
I feel I left lot of things unfinished as an amateur, so I want to make up for that here on the professional circuit.
I had the option of attending college in America and playing golf there, but I thought that would delay me in getting to where I aspire to be.
What is it like growing up playing golf in India?
I feel blessed and lucky to be playing golf in India as it is considered to be the game of elite class.
It has given me the opportunity to travel abroad on a regular basis and learn lots of new things from different regions and cultures.
How do you think that the success of players like Aditi Ashok and Shubhankar Sharma is affecting, or will affect, the game in India?
Golf continues to be a tough choice as a career in India despite the success stories we have seen in recent times.
The probability of making a decent living out of golf continues to be low in India, especially for women because of the lack of government or corporate support for female golfers.
Perhaps I should be talking positively but that’s a fact as I see it.