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Golf: Aditi Ashok vows to go the distance


At the end of 2022 LPGA season, Aditi Ashok found herself at the bottom of the pile in terms of driving distances. After 26 competitions on the tour, Aditi had ended the year at the 99th place, necessitating a soul searching. The two-time Olympian figured out that the key to better results lay in driving longer, and thus began a year-long work on her swing.

Aditi Ashok(File)
Aditi Ashok(File)

“I practised a lot on my swing. It was around this time last year that I looked at the stats and found that I was right at the bottom of the lot in terms of driving distances. That said a lot,” said Aditi on the sidelines of Hyundai India Junior Golf Tournament in Gurugram on Tuesday.

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For someone who revels in her short game, adding yards to her drives was an onerous task. She spent most of her off-season at her home course in Bengaluru sending the golf ball as far as she could.

“The key to effecting such technical changes is practice, and I did practice a lot. I was always confident of my chipping and putting, ad so I spent extra time on my swing. I practiced with heavier clubs and tried to increase my arm speed. I didn’t bother with hitting straight; I didn’t care if the ball went to the left or right, I was just focussed on hitting as hard as I could,” she said.

As the season approached, Aditi’s swing became far more powerful and she opened the year with a win at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour (LET). “To start the season with a win was a big boost as it put me in the right space mentally. Still, my main thrust was on doing well on the LPGA circuit,” she said.

Aditi competed in 20 LPGA events this year, making top-10 five times, including two top-5s. Her average driving distance at LPGA events this year was 244.31 yards, helping her take the 149th spot in terms of driving distances, nine places up from last year when here average driving distance was 235.11 yards. Her overall season-ending LPGA ranking went up from 99 in 2022 to 41 this year.

On the LET circuit, she appeared in 10 tournaments, winning twice and securing four top-10s to take an overall fourth place on the year-ending rankings. Her driving distance averaged at 245.20 yards.

“Overall, this has been a year of significant incremental gains. I had two wins in my LET rookie year too but it was at LPGA that I really broke through. I didn’t win but the performances have been very encouraging. I have had five top-10s this year whereas at the start of the year, I had a total of five top-10s in my entire LPGA career.”

“So, just getting into winning positions in LPGA is something I hadn’t done and I am very happy to have done it this year. I feel I know what I need to do at this level. I have the game to win at LPGA for sure. Also, getting the Asian Games medal was a big bonus this year,” Aditi added.

An improvement of 10-15 yards may not stand out, but Aditi reckons it has been the difference between her making birdies or doing an even par. “If you look at the stats, I haven’t gained much, maybe 10-15 yards. I am still a short hitter on LPGA but those 10-15 yards are very often the difference between pars and birdies. I was acing the par 5s regularly this year,” she explained.

The focus for the 25-year-old now shifts towards the Paris Olympics and Aditi has her plans in place. “The fourth-place finish in Tokyo was a bitter pill to swallow, so I have unfinished business in Paris. That will be my primary goal of 2024. I am very excited to play in Paris and hopefully I can have some good weeks going into the Olympics. I am looking to play at least 10-15 tournaments before Paris and take a good momentum there. I will hopefully begin my season in February and see how it goes.”


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