Nepali Times
Tee Break
Golf cooperation council


golf course is built, golfers come and play and those who realise the benefits and can afford to learn and take up the sport, do so. Once things are running smoothly, some begin to wonder how the sport can grow and spread to those that find it difficult to even find out if they would be interested.

You have to give something to get a return. Be it education, self-improvement courses, setting up and stocking a business or industry, giving your time to a cause and, yes, even abandoning your principles as a bureaucrat or politician-some investment or sacrifice has to be made.
It often takes a person who has both foresight and passion to see a vision through to implementation. Many months ago, when the Himalayan Bank Limited (HBL) was planning on ways of promoting itself, the idea of a golf tournament was considered.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors, Himalaya SJB Rana, felt that simply a tournament for promotion without some further benefit to society would not be in line with HBL's commitment to being a socially-responsible and leading corporate body. The board of HBL heartily concurred.

When the Himalayan Bank Open Golf Championship concluded last Saturday, Chairman Rana announced that all entry fees collected from the tournament would go towards a Golf Development Fund.

In these cynical times, it would be easy to take a negative stance about this decision. One could say: "There are so many worthy causes to support, so why golf?" The case rests on blending good business promotion with the development of a very popular and lucrative sport that opens up new horizons for making both a career and a mark in the world.

The benefits can be tremendous-learning to be a teaching professional, playing professional or even just being able to play the sport well opens up many avenues of income and contacts in the business world. It often signifies a degree of sophistication and belonging to a fraternity.

The thoughtful use of this new fund will be a major step towards the development of the sport amongst those who would normally not be able to afford access to equipment and training. With HBL's track record of professionalism and dedication, I foresee exciting developments of the sport ahead.

At the award ceremony last week, Rana said: "The general idea is to develop golf by providing opportunities to youngsters to start the game. We have started it and we want the golfing community to give momentum to achieve significant progress."

Highlights of the HBL Open Golf Championship was a win by Tsenthok Dorjee, Station Manager of Druk Air, in his first appearance in a tournament. He started playing golf only after his posting in Kathmandu last year.

In this space in an earlier column I had mentioned how difficult and rare it was to get a "hole in one". This golfer's dream came true for Binod Shrestha who was given a special prize for his incredible shot on probably the most difficult Par 3 hole in South Asia.

HBL has shown that business promotions with contributions towards new opportunities can be successfully implemented, while Tsenthok proved that one can learn and be able to win a big tournament in less than a year's time.

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

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)