Our biggest golfing event, the Surya Nepal Masters has been postponed. Since the tournament is part of the Indian golf circuit, it attracts over 60 professional golfers each year from India alone. This sounds like bad news for golf tourism. So why am I hopeful?
The Masters has just been put off to January, not cancelled, and the reasons for the postponement had nothing to do with us. There's upheaval in the Indian golf scene, with scraps and tension between the golf governing body, players, and the marketing company which dealt with sponsorship and money.
In Nepali golf, too, we've had some changes, but of the positive kind. The National Sports Council reconstituted its ad hoc committee to work with the Nepal Golf Association. The committee is headed by businessman Pradeep Kumar Shrestha and I'm an executive member. We're all energetic and enthusiastic about developing golf all over Nepal, not just in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Any golf committee which fails to tap into the considerable resources available to build basic infrastructure is likely populated by members there for the social cache, not necessarily to work. The new committee will have to avoid that trap.
We'll have to take on a number of challenges: holding regular golf tournaments and training, and improving the standard of the game as it is played here, ensuring representation in most international golf tournaments, and soliciting government support to enhance facilities for golfing. We need to focus on young players, children, and establish golf academies to catch them young and ensure that in the future we have as good players as courses.
Money will be an issue, as it always is. We're already considering various fundraising options and most of us have made personal contributions to the development fund. We'll also soon start a vigorous campaign to raise funds to strengthen the Nepal Golf Association.
We should be looking ahead, and indeed the NGA wants to be affiliated with all the major international governing bodies of golf. We've talked about golf tourism till we were blue in the face. This is a chance to actually put Nepal on the map, as it deserves to be.
Can we have a Nepali PGA champion? I'd bet on it.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. firstname.lastname@example.org