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DEEPAK ACHARYA
Tee Break
Getting started


DEEPAK ACHARYA


With my 22 years of golfing experience in Nepal, I find that generally people are quite puzzled about how to start playing golf. Reasons for this include the belief that it is an elitist game, that it will cost too much, take up too much time, the equipment is too expensive, membership is exclusive and "It is an old man's game, so why should I start now? I'll wait till I retire!"

I have found that almost all golfers here develop an interest in the game through their friends and relatives who are already golfers. Very few start on their own initiative. Perhaps this has to do with the lack of awareness of what golf really is all about and how to get introduced to avaliable golfing clubs and facilities.

In general, golf is a recreational sport that can be enjoyed from youth up to a ripe old age. Though not fast-paced, it still requires a degree of fitness to play the game socially. You have to walk fairly briskly for over 8 km every four-hour round you play, and doing this regularly definitely makes you fitter.

Though golf is still not available throughout Nepal, we do have nine facilities in four cities: four in Kathmandu, three in Pokhara, and one each in Dharan and Nawalparasi.

Golf can be learnt in all these places. The two driving ranges (one in Pokhara and the other in Kathmandu) are built to help those already playing to improve, and encourage newcomers to start the game. The golf courses all have their own driving or practice facilities with dedicated golf professionals to teach the game.

To learn golf quickly and properly, one needs to take professional coaching. If not, progress is slow and bad habits develop, which can later be very difficult to correct. Additionally, the game has comprehensive rules and etiquette which you are expected to know and follow. The basics of these are taught during golf lessons.

All you really need to start playing golf are a pair of sports shoes, comfortable clothes and, if your hands are a little soft from inactivity, you may require a golf glove which is can be bought at the golf practice facilities. Next is a quick phone call to one of the golf instructors at a golfing facility. Make an appointment for your first one-hour lesson, and show up on time. That's it!

Usually included in the cost of the lesson, which will be around the Rs 500 range, the instructor will provide the golf clubs and practice balls. You may be surprised at how "not easy" and how tired you are after just an hour of practice of this so-called "old man's game".

No more reasons for procrastinating. Get out into the bright sunshine, clean air, and take up a sport that brings you in touch with nature and yourself.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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