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Jakarta Post

Indonesian golfers gain career, skill boost through Ciputra golfpreneur foundation

  • Ramadani Saputra
    Ramadani Saputra

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 5, 2020   /   06:42 am
Indonesian golfers gain career, skill boost through Ciputra golfpreneur foundation The management of the Ciputra Golfpreneur Foundation, including Ciputra Development director Budiarsa Sasrawinata (‘standing, fifth left’) pose alongside the golfers chosen to be sponsored by the foundation during its launch in Jakarta on Tuesday. (JP/Ramadani Saputra)

In a video screened during a Tuesday press event, the late business tycoon Ciputra explained his love of golf. The sport, he said, had given him one important lesson: integrity.

 “[In golf] if you lose you cannot blame anybody but yourself. Without integrity, you cannot excel,” said Ciputra, affectionately known as Pak Ci by many.

The businessman, who passed away November of last year, had been a loyal supporter of the sport. He had built golf courses and organized tournaments for junior players.

Pak Ci’s legacy is now continuing through the establishment of the Ciputra Golfpreneur Foundation, which had been one of his lifelong desires.

Private patrons have played pivotal roles in supporting sports in the country, especially a sport like golf, which requires serious financial support.

 “We can see what Pak Ci has done for the sport,” said Budiarsa Sasrawinata, Ciputra’s son in law, representing the foundation.

“Pak Ci had planned to establish the foundation since last year. We had been waiting [for the right time] to launch the foundation, but God had another plan. Now this is the right time,” he added.

The term golfpreneur, Budiarsa explained, was coined by Pak Ci himself as he wanted the golfers not merely to play but to develop their entrepreneurial abilities to enable themselves to stay afloat even if they stopped playing professionally.

The foundation plans to support the career of five professional golfers and five junior golfers at the amateur level. The professional golfers being supported are Elki Kow, George Gandranata, Jordan Surya Irawan, Joshua Andrew Wirawan and Kevin Caesario Akbar.

In the junior category, Alfred Raja Sihotang, Holly Victoria Halim, Jonathan Xavier Hartono, Jose Emanuel Suryadinata and Kentaro Nanayama gained support from the foundation.

All 10 golfers, with the foundation’s support, will be allowed to practice at the Damai Indah Golf Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) Course in South Tangerang, the Pantai Indah Kapuk Golf Course in North Jakarta and at Ciputra Golf Surabaya for free.

The foundation’s member Dading Soetarso said the amount of financial support for the golfer would be based on their performance.

“For example, if one golfer is competing in a tournament in Thailand and they need about US$1,000, we will provide them 50 percent of the total cost. If they made the cut to play on the weekend, we will immediately disburse additional funds,” he said.

“For the juniors our priority is for them to excel at the annual Ciputra Junior World Championships which were earlier slated to be held on April 28 to 30, but due to the outbreak, they will be postponed until August,” he said referring to the coronavirus outbreak.

“In terms of facilities, we provide the same arrangement as the pros, free access to the course, without caddies, to improve their individual skills without assistance, driving range balls and technical or mental coaching as required.”

The foundation also encouraged the juniors to pursue college golf scholarships in the United States. As of now, three of the five juniors are linked to college golf scholarship in the US.

“Alfred will be going to Oregon State University, and Jose will be enrolled at Idaho University this fall. Kentaro is already committed to attend Purdue University in two years’ time. So we certainly encourage further education to obtain this entrepreneurial spirit that Pak Ci has always wanted to create. That is part of the values we thrive on,” Dading said.

The foundation will also take a small portion of the prize money if the pro golfers win a tournament, which will later be used to support the next generation entering the sport.

Among the five professional golfers supported by Ciputra Golfpreneur, George Gandranata holds the highest world ranking at number 1716th, followed by Joshua at number 2088th.

Selected as one of the recipients, Joshua felt grateful as he acknowledged that he had difficulty finding sponsors to fund his tournaments.

“It’s quite hard to find sponsors [for golf] in Indonesia. If Pak Ci were not passionate about the sport, this would not happen. For a long time, it has been rare to find Indonesian professional golfers getting full sponsorship, while here we are supported in practice and tournaments,” he said, adding that the support boosted his confidence.

With the support of Ciputra, Joshua aims to break into the top 500 by the end of the year. He plans to compete in six or seven tournaments on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and Asian Tour before July.

Right now, Indonesia only has two golfers in the world top 1000. Danny Masrin, who recently finished eighth at the SMBC Singapore Open in January, followed by Rory Hie in 575th place, who became the first Indonesian to win the Asian Tour as he won the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship in India last September.