PGTI Players Championship at Nuh: Golfer Gurbaz Mann to return in double role

Nitin Sharma
Gurbaz Mann at Chandigarh Golf Range. (Express photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

THE LAST two weeks have seen 36-year-old Chandigarh golfer Gurbaz Mann spending time with players like last year's Asian Order of Merit winner Shubhankar Sharma and other golfers to help them with club fitting and other aspects of the sport at the CGA Range.

On Tuesday, as Mann will tee off during the first round of the PGTI Players Championship at Classic Golf & Country Club, Nuh, Haryana, in a field, including Sharma, it will be a special moment for Mann. Mann, who last had a full PGTI card in 2013 before taking a break from the game due to a recurring hip injury, will return as a full tour card holder on the PGTI circuit at Nuh. The last five years have also seen Mann spending his time with the top tour professionals helping them in club fitting and equipment.

"I guess it is a special moment for me too as I play against golfers like Shubhankar Sharma, whom I have mentored for the last few years apart from other players like Abhijit Singh Chadha. I have seen them from close and helped them at various stages of their career and playing in Nuh along with Shubhankar will be a different feeling. Prior to coming to this tournament, I helped players like Ranjit Singh in their fitting of clubs and equipment last week and I believe my understanding of equipment and other technical aspects of the game will help me during the whole PGTI calendar," said Mann, who turned professional in 2003.

As a young golfer, Mann had won the Nepal Open in 2004 apart from finishing seventh in Macau Open in 2007. Mann suffered the hip injury in 2008 and the golfer had only eight top-ten finishes in the next four years before a second-place finish in PGTI Players Championship in 2013. In 2014, Mann moved to the USA to spend some time learning the techniques of club fitting and equipment apart from founding the IAPGA, a body to support professional golfers in the USA. The demise of his father I P S Mann, who was a former president of Chandigarh Golf Club in 2016, meant that Mann shifted to India and continue the custom of club fitting apart from mentoring players like Sharma and Chadha.

Last year, mann played in two PGTI Tournaments on sponsor's invite before securing his PGTI card in PGTI Q-School. "The injury meant that my career was cut short. From starting, I was fascinated by the art of swing and the technical aspect of the game, including club fitting. I spent three years training under Lyod Hackman, one of the pioneers in shaft building. Apart from that, we formed IAPGA to help Indian golfers where we raise corporate funding for golfers like Shubhankar and other golfers for training in USA in 2015 and 2016," he said.

Mann, who runs his company for club fitting and equipment, had launched Falcon Eye IPS Meter, a machine to assist golfers to get the putting stroke right in 2013. The product was the result of more than two years of research and he believes spending time with the equipment makes him a better golfer.

"I have been spending time on research about golf equipment for the last 10 years and I learnt this when I could not find such support in my career. Golf is a precision sport and technology helps to understand the effect of multiple variables. Fortunately, I have got the support at Chandigarh Golf Association Range and Chandigarh Golf Club to impart my knowledge to the fellow golfers," Mann said.