The R&A - Working for Golf

Aditi Ashok enjoys rapid rise in professional game

  • Aditi Ashok sets sights on more professional wins after reaching top 100.
  • The Ladies European Tour’s Rookie of the Year won two titles in 2016.
  • The 18-year-old from India wants to perform in the Majors in 2017

After reaching the top 100 on the back of her first year as a professional, and picking up the Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year award as a result of her efforts, Aditi Ashok has the golfing world at her feet. So what does 2017 have in store for the up and coming young star from India?

The 18-year-old golfer capped 2016 with back-to-back wins on Tour, with the first of those victories, the Hero Women’s Indian Open, coming in her home country.

She quickly followed that up with success at the Qatar Ladies Open before taking a break to reflect on a season that also included representing India in Rio as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

Ashok competes in the Olympic Golf event in Rio in August 2016.
Ashok competes in the Olympic Golf event in Rio in August 2016

Amateur golf

Ashok, who enjoyed an illustrious amateur career, competing in the Espirito Santo Trophy in 2012 and 2014, before winning the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Moortown Golf Club in Yorkshire and the prestigious St Rule Trophy at St Andrews in 2015, spoke about her first season on Tour and what the future holds.

“It feels great to be a winner on Tour. I won my first event in my home country so that made it even better. The first win is always the hardest because as a player you don’t know how good is your best. But after winning you get confidence in knowing that your best week can win you a tournament.”

Links golf and Junior Open

With ambitions of capturing her first Major Championships in golf, Ashok is looking forward to The Ricoh Women’s British Open, which takes place at Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews in August. As a teenager, she competed in The R&A’s Junior Open twice and says those experiences of playing links golf have helped shape her skills as a professional.

“I competed in the Junior Open in 2012 and 2014 and it was definitely one of the best experiences I have ever had. I played with the best boys and girls from all over the world, which I didn’t get to do very often.

“I think the links style golf courses with the unpredictable weather and challenging conditions helped hone my skills as a golfer. I remember in 2012 it was raining every day and it was the first time I had played in that much rain.

Women's golf

Ashok even said playing against her male counterparts at such an early age inspired her to be the best. “Competing with boys made me push myself to play better. There are very few combined boys and girls junior events so that was a good experience.”

Ashok is one of only six ranked female Indian golfers and the sole competitor in the top 100 at 99. Her idol is Annika Sorenstam whom she hopes to follow into the World Golf Hall of Fame. But at just 18-years-old, the young talent seems to be pursuing her own route to success. Asked what advice she would give to young girls looking to get involved in golf, Ashok said, “I would say that golf has longevity as you can play for a long time – it’s a good sport to play. You always have to work hard and have fun.”