Need to popularize and modernize golf in Pakistan: Aahyan Mumtaz

LAHORE - Pakistan’s young amateur golfer Aahyan Mumtaz believes that it is time to popularize and modernize the game of golf in Pakistan, to make golf in Pakistan a publicly viewed sport and as entertaining as it is in the entire world.
Sharing his views while talking to The Nation, Aahyan Mumtaz, who has wide experience of watching and playing golf in the developed countries, is eager to revolutionize the game in the country. “I want to modernize and popularize golf in Pakistan. It’s the best way to make this game common and help Pakistanis excel at international level. Now the question here arises, how can we do this.
“There is a need to portray golf on the media; print, electronic as well as social media. We need to introduce fun aspects in the game like short and pre-tournament challenges in golf events. When people see these, it creates an interest and eagerness amongst them to give it a go. It is similar to what happened with cricket: T20 format has gradually become the main stay of viewership and has helped bolster the popularity of the sport.
“Now in golf too, its time to make a change. There are numerous such activities that we can utilize to help create a feeling of excitement. And it’s been done internationally for quite a while. The main purpose is engaging your audience so that they WANT to see your content. At the end, it’s all about content these days. We organised a Parchi golf challenge and 14-club challenge before the main tournament and that helped in creating hype and interest amongst golfers and non-golfers alike.
“I also feel an active effort is required with regards to sponsorship. We need to engage sponsors and in return provide them with notable content. Sponsors should also allocate a budget for media coverage in golfing events so that these matches can be shown, recorded and aired for enhanced viewership. In this way, golf will be promoted rapidly and it will help Pakistani golfers gain exposure which is routine at international level,” he asserted.
“I think golf is mis-understood in Pakistan and is considered as an elitist game. Globally golf is a public game with the largest participation after football. But here the scenario is entirely different. Only a specific community plays golf here and it is considered an old people’s pastime. 
“In reality, golf is the game of youth and passionate people, who love to see and enjoy it. I am keen to make it a public sport which needs gradual efforts and generous support of sponsors, whose corporate responsibility is to promote sports in order to make players, sports and country healthy, wealthy and prosperous,” he added. 
Expressing his concern over lack of facilities in Pakistan, Aahyan said: “There is also a dire need to provide proper facilities to the youth of Pakistan in order to engage them. Our neighbours, India, have golfers on the international circuit while we are nowhere to be seen. 
“The reason is very clear: a lack of facilities, public interest, incentive and investment.
 The more they will be assured about their bright future at international level with all-out support from government and corporate sector, the better they will produce results and win international laurels for Pakistan,” he said.
Aahyan - 35 - is the tournament organiser of the J.A. Zaman Memorial Open Golf Championship. His efforts have helped the tournament become one of the largest in Pakistan and continues to grow at a rapid pace. He is committed to the betterment of the game in the country having represented Pakistan golf at the junior level. 

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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