To some golf is a game, and because it does not involve a lot of physical activity, to some golf is not considered a sport. It is considered or thought of as a game for the old and the elderly. However, we have the Poona Golf Club turning Golf into a Sport! A sport that they want to take to the young ones out there, to the youth out there and make it accessible to them through various means…one being of course the fees!
Game or a sport call it what you may GOLF requires a lot of skill that needs training and nurturing like any other sport. And like any other sport the child needs to be trained young. Today we see a multitude of young children aged 3 and 5 and above practicing the sport on the Poona Club Golf Course, swinging their clubs with enthusiasm and glee. This is what the Poona Club Golf Course has managed to do.
Making golf accessible to the young! How may we know?
In Mr. Sirsikar’s words “People who see golf on T.V. don’t know where to go. If you go to a community golf course it is only for the people in that community. If you go to other private golf courses the fees are not affordable. At the Poona club the fees are more affordable. If you see our rates what we offer to our outside members, or the general public we have slashed it to 50 % for the juniors just to promote them. The geographical location is such that it is easily reached from various parts of Pune.”
Earlier golf was considered to be a game for the rich and the wealthy. People had second thoughts of making it their game! Today with fees slashed to half for the young, and clinics opening in many areas, ‘3 and 5 year old’s’ are making it their Sport. The Golf Culture is catching on!
To make the sport even more interesting and novel The Poona Club Limited has organized the Poona Club Golf League 2019 from January 25th to the 27th of January. It will be held at the most prestigious and magnificent Poona Club Golf Course which is the only 18 hole golf course in the city spread over 100 acres. The Title sponsor is Venky’s and the co-sponsor is Syska!
To kick start the process the committee consisting of the President of the Poona Club- Rahul Dholepatil, the Vice President of the Poona Club-Nitin Desai, the Golf Captain-Swastik Sirsikar, the Chairman-Andrew Pinto; Indraneel Mujgule and Aditya Deshmukh the members, and the team owners conducted a successful auction of the players on the 6th of January at the Westin Hotel Pune.
It is out of passion and not for the monetary value that the team who are avid players of golf themselves are backing this sport. In Nassir Shaik’s words (General Manager Westin Hotel)… “If something touches your heart you will see progress.”
Andrew Pinto, Chairman of the League was under duress to create more teams as there were multiple registrations pouring in. Andrew has hand picked, chosen carefully the people to become team owners. Such is the care the organizing team is taking to not only promote the sport but to guard it for it to become one of the best!
There are 8 teams consisting of 12 players each. There are 2 groups with 4 teams each. This league will also give a big boost to women players as well as the youth as it is mandatory for each to team to have at least one lady player and a junior player below 16 each.
Group A consists of Panchshil Aces, Fittrum Eye of the Tiger, Yohaan Poonawalla Eagles owned by the Poonawalla Group, the Holey Ones by Vascon.
Group B consists of Rosary’s Lions owned by the Westin, The Angry Birdies by Shirke, Swinging Sultans by Syska, Albatross by the Kalyani group.
To explain the game as it has been designed to make it more interesting and faster:
“There are 12 players out of which there will be 5 matches. 10 players play per match. There is a gross four-ball 2 foursome matches and 2 balance four-ball matches. Over the 2 days out of the 12 players each one has to play one match. It is compulsory. We want to ensure that every one gets included in the process of playing, and no one is left out. The topper of each group will go into the semi- finals on Sunday and the winning semi- finalist will play the finals. These are on Sunday. There will be a 3rd place match also a 5th place and a 7th place. The Semi- final and the final are on the 27th…the semi-final’s is 9 holes and the final’s is another 9 holes.”
Of-course every sport or game ends with a prize, a trophy…some form of reward and recognition.
There is no prize money involved here. In the words of the committee and team owners present at the conference, “There are a lot of prizes to be won. A huge trophy and individual prizes for the best golfer, best lady golfer, best junior and best senior golfer. Lots of prizes to be won during the 3 day event. Even for the runner up teams there will be some cups and golf equipment.”
The Poona Golf Club has been doing its bit for a long time now for the sport…GOLF! From supporting the caddies with money and equipment in-order to learn and be a part of the tours, to keeping the course protected from miscreants as it is situated in an area that has elements that can create issues, and to the 1000 employees who benefit directly or indirectly for the Golf Club.
Mr. Shirke said that he has the desire to also create a park for the young children in the same area as that of the golf course, as a child’s attention span is short lived and would like some other diversion whilst learning to play golf.
I must say that is a very well thought out plan!