If I was to tell golfers in Nepal that the most regular player in the country was probably Devinder Chand, they would be excused for being a bit confused. However, if I said that, religiously, in the cold of winter, whether rain or shine, early every morning DC Khanna can be found at Gokarna Golf Club, they may well smile with fascination, just as I do. I must admit I am quite taken and inspired by his dedication, knowledge and love for the game.
At the age of 74, Khanna plays from the championship tees, has a handicap of 18 and still takes lessons from us pros, striving to ever improve. He believes "if a thing is worth doing, it must be done well". He is so knowledgeable about the game that most golfers, including myself, are reverentially impressed. Always seen helping golfers with insightful tips, he has inducted a fair number in Nepal into the game.
I stole some time from the busy schedule of the CEO of Siddhartha Bank and gleaned some reflections from his half century of golfing experience.
How long you have been playing and what drove you to start the game?
I've been playing since 1952. It all started in Kolkatta. At that time I was working with Lloyds Bank and most officers had to join 'a club'. I joined Royal Kolkatta Golf Club in 1953.
I've known you now for a decade. You practice almost daily, and try to achieve something new all the time. Why?
Golf poses a serious challenge to all who play it. It demands commitment, and it is fascinating to try and find out the many secrets of the game.
Do you take golf as a hobby or something more?
To me, golf is much more than a hobby. It's a way of life. The game imparts discipline and much needed exercise, both of mind and body.
All this time in Nepal you've been holding the CEO's position in leading banks. How difficult it is to manage time for golf?
This has been going on for more than 50 years. It requires a bit of discipline, planning and management of time. The optimum utilisation of time is an attribute and most rewarding. It is like setting targets and meeting those deadlines. Quite frankly, any meaningful exercise must improve performance. I get a great feeling of well being after playing golf each morning, and itch to face the coming day.
What advice would you like to give to your corporate colleagues about golf? I would say, "Don't hesitate and waste time." Start playing this game and keep it up. Golf will keep you away from trouble and mischief. There is no doubt that you can win over business by interacting with people you meet through golf.
What golfing positions have you held and what has been your best score in a competition?
I served as Captain of Tollygunge Club, Kolkatta in 1981 / 82. I was the treasurer of the Indian Golf Union around the same time. My best performance was 44 points playing in the Ducan Cup, Kolkatta in 1973. Back then I was a 13 handicap and played 4 over for the day.
Who is your favorite golfer?
I am very fond of Ben Hogan.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Head Golf Professional at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]