Simi Mehra recently received one of the ten coveted wildcards for entry into the Evian Masters, presented by Société Générale, which is due to be played at Evian Masters Golf Club in France from 22 – 25 July 2010.
The invitation was a symbol of recognition for Simi’s achievements as the leading female professional golfer from India.
Not only has Simi been breaking barriers on the course since she turned pro in 1994, she also works tirelessly to help promote the game in her native India and to help those less fortunate than herself.
Born in Kolkata in 1972, Simi attended Calcutta University before turning professional in March 1994.
She has won four titles on the Duramed Futures Tour and four titles in Asia; competed on the main LPGA Tour, which she played from 1997-1999 and also from 2001-2004.
She has also competed on the Ladies European Tour, in 2000 and since 2007.
She was fourth at the 1998 Australian Ladies Masters and fifth at the 2000 Ladies Austrian Open, but aside from her personal achievements on the golf course, some of her biggest successes have been outside the ropes.
As India’s leading woman golfer, Simi realised that she was in a unique position to help others.
Therefore, she and her friend Champika Sayal founded the non-profit Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) (http://wgai.co.in/) to give the local up-and-coming women golfers in India a place to make a living through golf.
Setting up the association proved incredibly challenging in a male-dominated society, but Simi and Champika, now Secretary-General of the WGAI, remained determined.
The WGAI today has 16 professional players, known as Founding Members, with six events played over the European winter, from November to January, attracting some of the best golfers in Asia.
Simi says: “Everything takes time and if history has taught us anything, it is if you have a dream, take steps to make it a reality, however small the step may be. It has always been my dream to put women’s golf in India on the world map and I will continue to do so through playing and helping build the WGAI into an organisation to reckon with.
“We have a very strong team of board members who truly want to see women’s golf reach its full potential in India, even though we have struggled in the initial stages of getting sponsors and dedicated people to believe in this endeavour. My personal belief through this time has always been to stay focused on our goals and believe that there are ‘no failures in life, just results. If we don’t get the results we want, change our approach and keep changing our approach until we get the results we want.’ I live by this belief and will continue to do so.”
Today, the WGAI has a prestigious company, Hero Honda, as its title sponsor and DLF has also supported the tour to help it become “a stepping stone for young women golfers to achieve their dream of playing anywhere they wish to play in the world.”
Simi also spends her off-season teaching disadvantaged children from all walks of life through the Golf Foundation of India, which has a website: http://thegolffoundation.net/. The Golf Foundation is a Registered Charitable Society formed with the objective of nurturing the future of Indian Golf by helping the under privileged young talented caddie golfers who for reasons beyond their control are unable to play and participate in recognised tournaments that will help in promoting their talent.
“Golf has given me a tremendous amount of confidence and resources and my way to give back is by helping kids in any way or form in reaching their full potential in life. I love kids and when I hear the excitement in their voices after an event or a lesson it gives me great satisfaction,” Simi explained.
Simi firmly believes that one day an elite level Indian golfer will emerge from these caddie boys, since “these boys are highly motivated, very hard working, dedicated to the game and have the fire in their stomach to excel at the national and international level.”
Ashok Kumar is one player to have benefited from this organisation, while Rashid Khan is one to look out for in the future.
Simi is delighted to have received the attention she deserves through an invitation from the Evian Masters organisation and said: “I truly am honoured to get an invite into the Evian Masters. This event is one of the most prestigious events in women’s golf worldwide. Their efforts promoting and developing golf globally is what makes this event even more special to me. It is always great to get recognised for all my achievements as the only woman touring professional golfer from India. I have played in every Tour in the world and am very ambitious and focused in my career as a player. My aim is to enjoy myself and be in the moment during the tournament. As long as I live in the moment, I can achieve anything I want to in life.”
Simi hopes to inspire the next generation of golfers with the following words: “Dreams lead to realities as long as you have the discipline to take action.”
Through her own selfless actions and by inspiring others, Simi is certainly helping many Indian golfers to achieve their goals.