11 June 2018
We Considered Strong Competitors in SEA
Krishna Iskandar was a talented junior player but he chose not to pursue a career as a professional. Despite training for several years in Thailand, the 27-year-old decided that his talent wasn’t great enough to compete in the professional arena. The single-handicapper followed another path, becoming a businessman. The Bachelor of Marketing Communication holder talked to OB about his experience of training in Thailand, his golf vision, and Indonesian amateur players.
How did you get into golf?
I met golf in 2004. My father, who introduced golf to me, asked me to join Aspirasi 8 (a junior golf club) in Pondok Indah. I spent a year there, then I moved to a few places: Rawamangun and BSD. Early in 2006, I went to practice golf in Thailand.
How did playing golf in Thailand come about?
At the end of 2005, I went to Singapore, playing in a junior tournament. I play with my friend. I happened to get acquainted with a Thai coach, Natpasitt Choktanasart, who later became my coach. We were chatting and I asked him to see my little shot. Apparently, we were a match. I went to Thailand, but still back and forth. Once a month I went to Thailand. It lasted for a year. Then, my dad finally sent me to live in the dorm there. Practicing with my coach Natpasitt.
Which Thai player’s was he coaching?
At that time, my coach held Kiradech (Aphibarnrat) and Prom (Meesawat), while in the national team he trained Pavit (Tangkamolprasert), the 2016 Venetian Macau Open winner.
Why did you feel Thailand was a good place to train?
The golf atmosphere in Thailand is great, dominating golf in Southeast Asia. The number of good golf players is high. I had many friends to practice with.
Thailand is very advanced in golf. Do you think it’s because of the training methods?
Actually, it’s not the training method, they have full support from the golf courses and sponsors. In addition to local players, holders of Asian Tour cards are accepted by Thai golf courses to play free anywhere. Compare that with here: if we hold a pro card (PGATI card), it only applies in some courses. In Thailand, professionals from outside Thailand are also accepted, they just have to pay buggy and caddy fees.
What’s the golf atmosphere like in Thailand?
Golf in Thailand is like badminton for us, which has become a people's sport. In addition, some of their players who have come through the World Top 30 ranking have changed their way of looking at golf. They have role models in golf.
How long did you stay in Thailand?
I stayed there a year. Mid-2006 I moved to Thailand. In 2007, I went home. Then, I went back and forth to Thailand until 2009. After that, I began to rarely play golf because of busy work.
Why did you decide not to pursue turning pro?
It is not easy to become a professional golfer now. There are too many good players. Playing well is not enough, you must also be able to dominate. If you cannot dominate in the amateur field, how can you compete and survive in the professional arena? That's why I didn’t want to follow a professional career. My vision of golf has changed, not pursuing achievement.
Do you enjoy golf more now?
Because my vision is different, there is no target being pursued, I enjoy playing golf more. I play more golf with my customers to establish networking.
You played on the Indonesian Golf Tour several times. What were you looking for?
I am actually focused on playing in the Indonesia Amateur Open and Indonesia Mid-Amateur Open. When I played in the IGT, it was a month before playing at the two events. For me, playing in the IGT is like a tryout and a warm-up before playing in those Amateur tournaments. I realize that I have no chance to win an IGT event, but by playing in those two national amateur tournaments I can still compete.
What are your best golf career accomplishments?
I won the club championship three times at Rawamangun, twice in Senayan, and once in the Jakarta Masters Club. I finished second in the Indonesia Mid-Amateur Open the last two years and finished third in the 2017 Indonesia Amateur Open.
What do you think of the standard of Indonesian amateur players?
Our players are really good. We can compete with Southeast Asian Countries. The Thai national team manager even said that Indonesia is currently a strong competitor in the SEA Games. I hope our amateurs can continue to work to professional careers and not be gone.
Speaking of Thai professionals, what prompted the regeneration of Thai players to run until now?
As far as I know, when Kiradech and Pavit started their first season as a pro, senior players always accompanied them. One senior played with three junior professionals in one group during practice rounds. They help with local knowledge in the course and course management. It's a tradition that runs to this day. Therefore, their young players are very respectful of their seniors. They regard these seniors as their role models.
The golf competition in Thailand spreads equally. Local tours are held throughout the province with strong sponsorship support. Their tour is older than ours and TV has exposed the local tours. Competition is really tight so they have to keep practicing in order to still exist.