In a tale reminiscent of a fairy tale, young Nihaal Cheema’s journey from wielding a yard club to his remarkable performance at the US Kids Golf World Championship 2023 echoes the transformation of a budding golf enthusiast into a potential star.
Hailing from Chandigarh, Nihaal, a first-grade student at Vivek High School, has made a significant mark on the international golf scene at just six years of age.
Nihaal’s interest in golf was ignited when he received a yard club as a gift at the age of two. Practising at the Chandigarh Golf Club, Nihaal’s passion for the sport flourished. By the age of three, he was already participating in tournaments, setting the foundation for his burgeoning golf career.
Nihaal’s most recent accomplishment is his impressive fourth-place finish in the under-six boys’ category at the US Kids Golf World Championship 2023, held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Remarkably, he was the sole foreign competitor among the participants, with the rest hailing from the United States. Despite facing challenges due to documental formalities that limited his preparation time, Nihaal exhibited a level of skill that belied his age, performing as though he had trained rigorously for weeks.
Dr Udai Cheema, Nihaal’s father, attributes much of his son’s prodigious talent to the guidance of his coaches Jesse Grewal and Sarvar Hussain, as well as the mentorship of Aadil Bedi, Yuvraj Sandhu and Gaganjeet Bhullar. These experienced figures in the world of golf have nurtured and refined Nihaal’s abilities, shaping him into the young golf sensation that he is becoming.
Expressing gratitude for the expertise and support provided by these influential figures, Dr Cheema emphasises the role of these mentors in Nihaal’s development. “Their expertise reassures us about his future growth,” he states.
Nihaal also draws inspiration from legendary golfers Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, whom he regards as his idols. While golf holds a special place in his heart, Nihaal, like any other child his age, enjoys a diverse range of activities, including football, basketball and reading. His daily routine is structured around rigorous golf practice sessions of two hours each in the morning and evening, six days a week, with a day of rest and leisure activities.
When asked about his future aspirations, Dr Udai Cheema acknowledges that Nihaal’s path will be determined by destiny. Nevertheless, he says that Nihaal dreams of becoming a world-class golfer, aspiring to secure victory in the most prestigious golf tournaments.
“He aims to compete at the highest level,” Dr Cheema says. “He is willing to put in the dedication required to emerge as a true champion.”