The women growing golf in India

    Golf in India: The growth of the game
    Golf in India: The growth of the game

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    Golf in India: The growth of the game 22:29

    This month's Living Golf sees Shane O'Donoghue travel to India. Watch March's episode here.

    (CNN)Sport is playing a crucial part in the changing role of women in India.

    While hockey and cricket are two examples of sports that have led the way, golf is slowly but surely catching up.
    'We have a society that believed getting married at 22 or 23 years-old and becoming a homemaker was important," Champika Nanda Sayal, Secretary General of the Women's Golf Association of India, told CNN Living Golf during a recent trip to Delhi.
      "Historically it's been a pattern which has been followed over time'' she says. ''Whereas now I don't think girls believe that this is the only thing that they need to do. We have a huge population of young Indians who are looking for new avenues in life and golf is one such avenue.''
      Golf in India: The growth of the game
      Golf in India: The growth of the game

        JUST WATCHED

        Golf in India: The growth of the game

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      Golf in India: The growth of the game 22:29
      To boost the game's popularity among women, the WGA of India sponsor a number of the country's elite female players.
      ''When you compare earnings in India with that of other countries where golf is played it's an expensive game,'' she says. ''We're a non-profit organization. Every bit of our money goes back into the welfare of the girls. We fund them to go out and play international tournaments.
      "I'm very proud to say that five Indian girls qualified for the Ladies European Tour in 2017 and that speaks volume of their talent but they could only do it because we helped them financially.''
      The undoubted star in Indian women's golf is Aditi Ashok. The 19-year-old, who's already won twice on the Ladies European Tour, is more than happy to serve as a role model to younger players.
      ''I enjoy playing golf and I'm happy that I get to do it for a living. I am just trying to compete and perform to my best every week on the LPGA and LET," she added.
      ''It's an added bonus that I am able to inspire youngsters by doing what I love most. I always try and represent myself and my sport to the best of my ability and work as hard as I can so that I can succeed and inspire young girls to take up sports as a career.''
      Golf's hardest holes: The 14th at DLF GCC
      Golf's hardest holes: The 14th at DLF GCC

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      For Ashok, funding is the only way to ensure Indian female athletes continue to breakthrough.
      ''In the 2016 Olympics the only medals won by India were by women so I think that says a lot about the potential of women's sports in India',' she says, referring to the silver medal won by P. V. Sindhu in badminton and Sakshi Malik, who took bronze in the 58kg wrestling competition.
      ''I hope the sports' federations and the government in India recognize that potential and invest equally in both men's and women's sports.
      "With golf, I already see more young girls playing today compared to when I was a kid so that's an improvement already and I'm sure it will only get better in years to come.''
      For Sayal, the success of Ashok and other the other players coming through is just rewards for the time and effort that has gone into making golf relevant in India.
      ''You can't imagine where we came from," she explained. "I mean as junior golfers we had to look for old golf balls in the bushes to play with. We really have come a long way.
      ''We are seeing a remarkable change. We have a population that we can boast about. A very optimistic, young India that can achieve anything.
      "I would love to see an Indian golfer win the Olympics in 2024 and I think we are we getting there.''