Nepali Times
Tee Break
Women play too


It was not all that long ago on the golf course women used be considered just a pleasant addition. Not any more. Today there are more and more women golfers bringing an exciting new dimension to golf here in Nepal as well.

In a tournament last month I was fortunate to be paired with Kesang Lama and was stunned by her striking ability. Never before had I witnessed first hand a lady golfer hitting as well as she did that day. Her drives were well over 200 yards.

She is the first Nepali woman I have come across who is so determined to excel in this game with the aim of achieving something special. She only started playing last year and in this short time has reached a remarkable stage where she has won the last three tournaments she participated in. Her present goals for improvement are to get her swing into proper shape and to work hard at perfecting her short game. She is very diligent and seems to never tire of practicing.
I caught up with Kesang recently and stole some precious time from her practice routine.

Me: Kesang, how did you end up playing golf?
Kesang: Well, I was interested in the game long before I picked up a golf club. With the arrival of Tiger Woods, golf's definition got redefined, and that was when a lot of youngsters started this game. While I was working in New York and Hong Kong, a lot of my colleagues played golf. A few times they took me along to golf courses and I just loved the environment. About a year-and-a-half ago I was in the final year of my MBA in London. I went to a driving range for some classes and since then I think I've been hooked.

What should be done to get more young ladies to play this game?
I think golf's image amongst the youth in Nepal is totally different from reality. They think it's an expensive game for retired people. They should be given an opportunity to start the game, for which the golf clubs in Nepal should organise free lessons and provide free balls. I feel social clubs are in a much better position to support this cause.

What do you find are the beautiful aspects of this game?
It's a life long sport. Unlike other sports, you don't need a partner or opponent to play with. Golf can be enjoyed alone, as you are only playing against the course and its natural conditions. I find it a family sport as well. My family and a lot of friends play, so its really fun. You get to walk like eight km in a round, which makes up for daily exercise. Apart from all that, there is really no danger of being injured.

What are your goals?
Well, for now, I don't want to sound too ambitious. My first aim is to be a single handicapper by the end of this year and play as many tournaments as I can to gain experience, both in and outside Nepal.

How supportive is your family?
I am very lucky that my husband, Wanchen Dhondup, loves golf himself. Being a four handicapper, he is very passionate about golf and wants me to succeed as well. On the other side, my dad encourages me all the time and wants me to be the best in anything I do.

Initially, Kesang regretted not starting the game earlier but has now convinced herself that even taking up the challenge at the age of 27 is not too late. She wishes there were more women her age or younger who would play the game with similar goals as her own.

So, ladies, call a golf club, schedule your first lesson and find out first hand if this sport could be for you too.

Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Head Golf Professional at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)