Ahead of her times! Lalita played Golf as an Amateur, and won medals for India, at a time when there were few women golfers playing competitively. And our favourite claim to her fame – Great Goals Grandmother!
Lalita Balasubramanian was an Amateur Golf player and has played several tournaments representing India. She first began her endeavours in golf in 1977 at the age of 26 when she was introduced to the sport in Kodaikanal.
Her journey as an amateur golfer started when she played tournaments within India, where the first tournament she participated was in 1979 at Delhi. However, she went on to represent India in the Queen Sirikit Cup in Singapore (1983) and New Zealand (1989) which is open to all Far East countries as well as Australia and New Zealand.
Lalita also won the Sri Lankan Open in 2004 and Southern Indian Open in 2007. After this, she retired as an amateur player but still continues to play golf for leisure today.
In addition to being a golfer of repute, Lalita is friend and supporter of Great Goals. All of her 5 grand children have played at Great Goals, and two continue to do so.
Interview with Lalita Balasubramanian
What challenges did you face, in getting to where you are today?
I faced plenty of challenges. Firstly, I started playing golf fairly late when I was 26 years old which also meant I had to take care of my two children. I had to put in a lot of practice for the level I was competing at, but simultaneouslyI also had to adjust with the crazy schedules of my children, their school and studies.
What drives you to get up in the morning and go training every day?
Fitness. I love fitness. To play well you need to be fit, and since fitness and training is my passion it automatically drove me to get up everyday and go to the golf course.
What is important to you? ( apart from sports what else do you do, and believe in ? It’s good for people reading this to know that there are other interests too aside from sports)
Apart from sports right now I do a lot of other things. I study the Vedanta, the Bhagvad Gita, I do Vedic Chanting, and I play the piano. I keeps my mind very active and independent. I don’t need anyone else to spend time with, I am happy with myself.
How does being an athlete make you a better person?
It helps to build a lot of skills such as focus and discipline. I know my priorities and how to prioritise them.
One word that describes you?
I’m a ‘nice soul’
What do you give up to play sports?
I didn’t give up anything to play sports, I enjoyed it. I never gave up anything, I did everything else I had to do along with playing sports. This is because I knew my priorities and what was important to me at that time.
What mental tool do you use under pressure?
I do not worry about the results, I just play and focus on the process and just enjoy what I’m doing. Then the results come automatically.
What is your mantra?
When I am under pressure I take a deep breath
If you could play another sport, what would it be ?
I have played many sports in my lifetime, I played tennis, badminton and table tennis for college. Along with amateur golf at a later stage. Now I wish I could get back into playing table tennis as I enjoyed it the most.
What expectations do you have of a coach?
As a coach he/she should know what I am capable of and then push me. When I have any issues a coach should know how to put me back in place.
At what age did you know that you wanted to become a professional golf player?
I was an amateur golf player and played for the country. I never knew I wanted to play golf at the level I did but ended up playing for India in major tournaments in the years 1983 and 1987. Other than that, every year I used to go to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to play other smaller tournaments.
What do you do to calm your butterflies when you compete?
I just take a deep breath
What coaches, teachers or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?
My first coach when I started playing golf was Mr Wheeler. He was from Masinagudi. Then I had many many coaches and finally trained under an Australian coach for more than 11 years.
What kind of philanthropic work are you involved in, if any?
Doing service to my family
What’s on your iPod right now? (What music genres and which artists do you enjoy listening to before a match?)
I listen to all the chants of Shiva Krishna and lots of Uma Mohan
Why do you think everyone should play a sport?
It gives people clarity in their mind, and drastically improves focus. All this leads to becoming a better individual.
Which sport would you not let your child play? Why?
I don’t think there is any sport which I wouldn’t want my child to play. If they like any game they are most welcomed to play it.
What do you do to keep fit ? Nutrition?
I exercise and play golf frequently
How do you incorporate mindfulness practices into sports?
Unless one is determined in the mind, one cannot excel in anything. And to keep that determination it is important to go practice and train at what ever suitable pace. Even at the age of 69 now I am practicing golf solely because of my love for the game.