Gulf News met up with 35-year-old Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri at The Els Club after he received his Dubai Golden Visa.
Gulf News: Anirban, welcome to Dubai, why are you here on this visit?
Anirban: I am honoured to receive my Dubai Golden Visa Award and look forward to making Dubai my genuine home with my young family over the coming weeks, months and years.
I would like to thank all of the government of Dubai authorities for making it all happen so smoothly during my short visit through Dubai.
Gulf News: Tell us about your golfing background and career to date?
Anirban: Golf is such a crazy game and it has taken me to so many different places around the world. I was born and raised in India, I turned pro in 2007, played on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and then I played on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour). I then found myself on the PGA Tour in 2015 where I have played for seven years as well as making my home in the US.
Gulf News: Tell us about your history with Dubai and the UAE?
Anirban: My first big break in international golf was to play in the Dubai Desert Classic in 2010 thanks to an invite from the organisers, Golf in Dubai, as the winner of the 2009 PGTI Order of Merit winner.
I have played the Dubai Desert Classic on many occasions and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club as well as the DP World Tour Championship on Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
That is the professional side of my life with Dubai and the UAE. On a personal level, I have so many friends here in Dubai, even stretching back to my school days for both my wife and myself.
Special friends based in Dubai include my fellow Indian golfers who are also Dubai Golden Visa Awardees: Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur.
Dubai has a very strong Indian community that makes the family move to Dubai a no-brainer for us.
Gulf News: Your thoughts on the golf facilities in Dubai and the UAE?
Anirban: I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the golf facilities in Dubai. Here at The Els Club and the Claude Harmon CH3 Academy it is fantastic. They have everything that as a professional golfer in terms of practice facilities, I require, and they also accommodate all levels of amateur golfers, from the complete beginner upwards. I will be making my Dubai golfing base at The Els Club.
I know there are so many other quality golf facilities in Dubai and the UAE having played in tournaments at both the Emirates Golf Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
We pros talk about Dubai a lot when we are on tour and just before my flight here from the US, I chatted with Henrik Stenson, who told me all about where he used to live and his tips on life in Dubai. So many players are making Dubai their winter base, or come to Dubai for winter practice, prior to their golfing seasons.
Yesterday I played nine holes with Charles Howell III at The Els Club breaking his journey on his way from the US to Bangkok, with his family and enjoying the tourist side of Dubai.
Dubai really is a golfing paradise for us pros, local golfers as well as international golfing visitors with the weather, the golf facilities as well as the physical infrastructure, location as a city in the world, and its warm and generous hospitality.
Gulf News: Tell us about your family and the decision to move to Dubai from the US?
Anirban: My wife and I have two children, a daughter who turns four in February next year and a son just four months old, so a lot is happening in the family home and it has been a bit of a circus recently.
I have allocated November for the big family move to Dubai and to help them settle in. We have rented short-term in Downtown Dubai and then I will then sit down with my wife over the next few months and we will discuss where we want to permanently live in Dubai, mindful of schooling and being in the right community for us and where we want to be in the longer term.
And we must never forget that our home country of India is only a short flight away.
Gulf News: Tell us about your 2022 year so far?
Anirban: This year has been very fulfilling. One of my best ever career performances was at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, Florida in March where I came solo second to Australian Cam Smith, and it was great to perform at the level I know I can play.
Then the opportunity to join LIV Golf presented itself over the summer.
After a few conversations I decided to sign up, as it felt right and exciting for both me as a professional golfer in my stage of my career as well as for my family.
Gulf News: What is your golfing schedule looking like moving forward?
Anirban: This week I am playing in Bangkok and then followed by Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
After my ‘Project Family Move to Dubai’ in November, I am looking to play a couple of events on the Asian Tour to finish the 2022 year and then in 2023 I will play, what looks like a 14 event calendar with LIV Golf, as well as some Asian Tour golf, which I still consider as my home Tour and hopefully some other tournaments.
Gulf News: Thank you for your time Anirban, enjoy your time in Dubai and good luck with your golf career.
Anirban Lahiri’s Career
Represented India in the 2006 Eisenhower Trophy and 2007 Nomura Cup, played in the 2005 World Junior Team Championship and was part of the Indian team winning the Gold Medal in the 2005 Asian Junior Golf Team Championship.
Professional Golf Tour of India: 12 wins and winner of the 2009 PGTI Order of Merit.
Asian Tour: 7 wins and winner of the 2015 Asian Tour Order of Merit.
DP World Tour: 2 wins:
2015 HERO Indian Open and 2015 Maybank Malaysian Open.
Represented India in the 2013 and 2018 World Cup.
EurAsia Cup (representing Asia) 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Presidents Cup (representing the International Team) 2015 and 2017.
Olympics (representing India) 2016 and 2021.
Best Major Finish: Tied 5th in the 2015 USPGA Championship.
Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR): Anirban currently sits at 90th in the OWGR and has a career high of 33.