All For the Love of Golf

People say life is about the journey and not the destination, well mine has been an interesting one so far… sometimes full of self reflection, another time full of doubt. Growing up, I always thought that by the time I reached adulthood, I would have it all figured out — what I wanted to do in life and what success meant. But as I flew through different phases of my life like all young people do, my perspective on success and passion changed.
Born and raised in India, it’s where I spent the first eighteen years of my life. I played and followed multiple sports growing up, but golf was something I was born into since all the males in my family played it. My grandfather first picked the sport up from his colleague. My father and his brother then picked it up from him, and subsequently so did my brother and I. It felt like something naturally passed down from generation to generation! I first touched a club at the age of 7 after tailing my grandfather every morning to a golf course run by the Indian Army. As I became older, I was increasingly drawn towards the sport and began to compete in tournaments. Initially, I never performed well in them and it often became demotivating. 

But something kept drawing me back to golf, prompting me to persevere until I was a teenager, when things finally started to turn around and I saw some progress.

There was definitely a thrill in competing under pressure, the feeling of butterflies in your stomach at each tournament. However, as soon as I hit that initial tee ball, I fell into a different zone and became lost in my own world with thoughts of planning how to execute each shot based on my vision. But with any sport, especially so in golf, there are various ups and downs, and more lows than highs. Dealing with frustration, anger, and learning how to accept things outside my control were a big turning point for me during my playing days. However, the most important gift golf provided me had been discipline and purpose. It gave me a reason to wake up everyday, to train mentally and physically, and to push my boundaries. Having been an overweight kid growing up, being an athlete has given me the motivation to lose 60 pounds to get fitter in order to improve myself as a golfer.

I came to a crossroad during my Junior year of high school—go to college in America, or stay back in India; essentially, I would have to sacrifice either education or golf. After much debate and deliberation with friends and family, I opted to go to America to pursue an education which still gave me an opportunity to continue competing in golf at a high level. The 4 years I had spent in America were phenomenal for me! It gave me a whole new perspective on life, the world, education, and golf especially. These newfound perspectives were not always easy to accept or digest in the beginning, but over a period of time it showed me that the world is a much bigger place than we thought it to be—making me realize all the things I had taken for granted. This cultivated humility and gratitude, but more importantly for an introvert like myself, it gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Having made the best out of those 4 years, I believe that none can place a monetary value on an international student’s college experience in America as the skills you acquire are intangible.

Returning to India after graduation, I have had the incredible opportunity to work for big audit firm Ernst & Young in the analytics division of their Audit arm. I had been excited for this new chapter in my life, and indeed it had been a great experience working there to learn the ropes of the corporate world. However, during my time with them, I could not shake the feeling that something was still missing in my work life.

Through a friend whom I used to play junior golf with, I came across AddedEducation on LinkedIn. Once again, it was golf and my student athlete experience in America that has brought upon another opportunity in front of me. I am slowly finding that missing piece with AddedEducation as I find my purpose in this season—to make a direct impact on the lives of future international student athletes!

Raghu Choudhary
Lead Counselor