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As Golf, So Life

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Golf runs deep in my family's blood. My grandfather started playing the game when he worked with the Government of India under British rule; then my father and uncles took it up and passed the passion on to the third generation: my brother, cousins and me.

I'd accompany my father to his club every weekend to play until I was old enough to commute there by bus on my own. I must've been just 12 or 13 years old when I got hooked - while other boys my age preferred rowdier games, I was drawn to this sport of keen focus and quiet concentration.

My uncle Bilu Sethi was a big inspiration, being India's No.1 golfer in the 1960s and '70s and winning many prestigious international and national golf championships in his lifetime. Through dedication and practice I soon became quite good, and went on to win the All India Junior Amateur Golf Championship at the age of 19 in 1977.

Golf has always been a great way for me to de-stress. Even now, no matter how busy I get at work, I find four hours twice a week for a round of golf where I think of nothing else but hitting that little white ball as best I can. Not only has it helped me improve my personal best while feeding my competitive spirit (and allowing me some fresh air), but the sport has taught me loads about life: through golf, I've been able to closely observe human nature and character, to make reasoned decisions about whether to take a risk or play safe, to aim for the skies even though I might not always get there.

One of the most interesting things about golf is that its only real referee is your own conscience. My biggest life lesson from golf is to be honest to myself first in everything I do, and this has helped me grow both personally and professionally.

My craziest golfing experience was in Mumbai during the monsoons - the rain was pelting down so hard the course would normally have been closed, but the captain of the club, seeing what regular enthusiasts we were, allowed us to play soaking wet, fortified by the contents of a hip flask and our shared passion for this game.

GN_merchantscup_08.jpgI've managed to infect my wife with the golfing bug, and now she plays more often than I do. Although my two daughters haven't quite taken to the sport as their forefathers did, I'm always eager to share my inherited interest with anyone who'll listen. After all, on the golf course everyone feels like family.

Do you have a passionate interest that's positively impacted your life? Share it with us here...