The 3rd PGA Junior Girls’ Match for girls under 14 years was held here at the picturesque Lahore Garrison Greens (LGG) under the overall supervision of Dr Asma Afzal Shami, Chairperson Ladies Golf in Pakistan and Mrs Iffat Zahra, Captain of the Junior Girls Golf Programme.
However, the actual, flawless conduct of the Match was carried out by the Match Director, Mrs Aisha Moazzam, who was very ably assisted by a team of dedicated and passionate lady golfers comprising Maimoona Azam, Bella Azam, Shabana Waheed and Shahnaz Moeen, for conducting today’s event so flawlessly.
The 3rd in a series of such matches are being played in accordance with a well thought out concept developed by Dr Shami in 2019, for creating a much-needed mechanism for talent hunting at the grassroots level, for identifying and nurturing our future lady golf champions. Initially, its implementation was faced with the problem of how to convince parents to allow their young daughters to take up golf and this was overcome by the joint efforts of Dr Shami and Mrs Iffat Zahra, who concentrated on alluring mothers onto the golf course in the hope that, “Once they had been bitten by the golfing bug, they would readily induct their daughters as well.” And that is exactly what has happened.
In all, three matches held so far. In the 1st Match in 2019, only 19 girls had participated while 36 competed in the 2nd event, and over 50 girls aged 6–14 took part in this year’s Match, registering a phenomenal increase of over 250% in 2 years. In addition, a similar Junior Girls Golf Match was conducted simultaneously in the DHA Golf Club Karachi, under the auspices of the Sind Golf Association. Incidentally, 9 of the original 19 have already graduated to the category of Lady Amateurs. Special mention needs to be made of 12 year old Bushra Fatima who qualified for a handicap of 36 last year and has now reduced it to 11.
In order to ensure a greater sense of participation amongst the young golfers, they were divided into four categories, i.e. Pearl (age 7 and below), Emerald (age 8 – 10), Ruby (age 11 – 14) and Junior Amateurs (who have qualified for having a handicap). The match was fiercely competed by all participants. The prize winners included Noor Bano in the Pearl Category, Shanzeh Malik in Ruby, Nataliya Shezadi in Emerald, while Minhal Asgahr in the Junior amateur Category.
However, the most striking feature of the event was the presence of a group of 11, differently abled children, belonging to an institute called DEAF REACH, which is located in Township Lahore and is being run by a Canadian citizen named Mr Danial Mark. Dr Shami invited them for a putting competition, firstly to create awareness of their existence amongst the junior girl golfers and, secondly, to include them with other girls in the same golfing arena. This was a truly unique imitative for amplifying our societal values.
It must be mentioned here that Begum Perveen Sarwar, wife of Governor Punjab, has emerged as the ‘Guardian Angel’ of these junior girl golfers as she graced the Prize Distribution Ceremony of all three Matches played so far as the Chief Guest. While appreciating the flawless manner in which this impressive event was conducted, she singled out Dr Shami for a bout of well deserved special praise.
In particular she eulogised her both for developing a mechanism for talent hunting at the grass roots level, as well as for her humane act of involving the differently abled girls of the Deaf Reach Institution in the Junior Girls Golfing Programme. She further said it was primarily due to her passionate dedication for development of Ladies Golf in Pakistan that she recently received a special Award from Governor Punjab.