A few recent developments continue to boost our optimistic outlook for golf's future in Nepal. The first was when the recent Himalayan Bank Open Golf Championship contributed all its participation fees towards a Golf Development Fund.
Then last Saturday, the 1st Pokhara Open proved to be a big step towards golf development outside the valley. A trio of avid golfers made up of Ajay Adhikari, Managing Director of Park & Shop along with colleagues Balram Thapa of German Bakery and local businessman Raju Bhattarai put together the idea of doing a Pro-Am tournament at the Himalayan Golf Course.
A Pro-Am event is where amateurs get to play in the same group as professionals, and is a great way for amateurs to experience higher levels of golf than they are used to. This is the only event for professionals in Pokhara apart from the regular annual Surya Nepal Western Open. The tournament saw eight Nepali professionals and a number of amateur golfers participating.
It was organised with the aim of developing the standard of golf and to help boost the local tourism industry. The main sponsor was Park & Shop and the supporters were Signature Whisky along with the Pokhara business community, the Pokhara Golf Society, Pokhara Municipality, Nepal Professional Golfer's Association and, of course, the Himalayan Golf Course.
Professional Sabin Sapkota won the tournament with a commendable gross score of one over par 71, and Pashupati Sharma of Gokarna Forest Golf Resort came second with a score of 72. The amateur winner was Capt. MB Limbu with 38 stableford points.
This Sunday, a new idea is being tried out to use the fun of golfing for a cause. On 21 March, a charity event is being held at Gokarna Golf Club to raise funds for the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center (SIRC) at Jorpati near Gokarna Forest.
This is a new and novel way of bringing awareness to a noble cause and raising funds for a charitable centre that houses, treats and rehabilitates Nepalis who have had falls and accidents leading to back injuries and varying degrees of paralysis.
The innovative part of the event is in its appeal to non-golfers to come up to the venue along with family and friends to relax and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and lush surroundings and participate in fun events based around the theme of golf.
Meanwhile, die hard golfers will navigate their way around the picturesque and challenging par 72 golf course at Gokarna in their bid to win attractive prizes along with a beautiful crystal replica of the SIRC's innovative logo that gives a modernistic view of a person's spine. The valuable and fun prizes for both non-golfers and golfers have been kindly donated by a host of sponsors.
To conclude, this Sunday's SIRC charitable event has a goal of supporting the center in looking after its patients. For that reason, and as individuals with healthy backs and sturdy spines, I hope you will consider joining us on Sunday for the Tournament or Events.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Head Golf Professional at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]tmail.com