KGA fairways look greener
The new office-bearers of the Karnataka Golf Association have grand plans to improve facilities at this elite club.
A NEW guard has taken charge at the Karnataka Golf Association, which is fast becoming a major national tournament centre for the sport. Backed by a majority of the 1,700 voting members of the KGA, a new committee has taken over the reins and it consists of the Mr. Ramesh Raj, President, Mr. Nandan Heblikar, Honorary Secretary, Mr. Rajendra, Honorary Treasurer, and Mr. Thimmaiah, Captain.
The KGA is one of the most frequented places in the City. With a strength of about 2,300 members (in all categories), the club is always buzzing with activity. Avid golfers tee off from the crack of dawn.
Members stream in and out throughout the day to meet over lunch, drinks or dinner.
The lush green course, rated as the fourth best in the country by the Indian Golf Union, is a popular spot for the country's top players.
The Hero Honda Southern Open is easily the best tournament. It attracts all the renowned players. Other tournaments such as the All India Juniors and Sub-Juniors, the Southern leg of the All India Ladies tournament and now the All India Amateurs (slated for Jan/Feb 2003) are some of the top tournaments in the country played at the KGA.
A horde of other sponsored tournaments such as the Mercedes Benz and The Hong Kong Bank events are also part of the KGA Calendar.
Mr. Nandan Heblikar, Secretary of the KGA, said: "Being one of the premier clubs in the country, the association is swamped with requests to conduct tournaments. Apart from collecting the green fees, KGA also provides the officials to supervise the tournament rules and also arranges the hospitality. However, in the interest of our own playing members, the KGA does its best to ensure that sponsored tournaments are not overdone and our members denied access to the greens.''
How does one get a membership in this elite club of Bangalore?
The first step is to submit an application form supported with signatures of five members of the club. The applicant should have a domicile certificate along with the application.
This done, an applicant will join the ranks of some 900 members in waiting.
However, the applicant will be permitted to use the flood-lit driving range and begin practising the game. Over a specified period, the applicant has to put in 26 cards and by the time the application comes up for approval, the applicant will be quite familiar with the game and ready to use the course.
The KGA also has a students' programme and any candidate is eligible to learn the game at a nominal fee.
``The idea is to get fresh blood into the game,'' says Mr. Ramesh Raj.
"With the Asian Junior Golf Academy also training youngsters to go with our Students Programme, We hope to produce an international champion from Karnataka in the near future,'' Ramesh Raj strikes a confident note.
Speaking on the administration of the club, Mr. Rajendra says: "KGA is going in for the latest technology in many areas.
We are introducing Smart Cards for the members and these will not only help to identify them but also serve as a debit and credit card. This will make billing easier and help in collection of dues.''
The KGA will also go in for a Tertiary Treatment Plant after approval from the general body. The TTP (recently installed at the Bangalore Golf Club) will help in the maintenance of the course. The TTP is budgeted at Rs. 1.9 crore and will provide 1.3 million litres of water a day.
The KGA is making arrangements for its caddies-turned-professionals to participate in the All India tournaments.
From a corpus fund, four caddies were sponsored for the All India tournaments and all four made the cut at Jaipur. This meant that caddies were able to earn some good money playing in the tournaments.
Apart from the lovely greens, KGA has a swimming pool, a health club, a snooker/billiards room and a cards room.
These facilities are well used and in the near future KGA hopes to include tennis courts and guest rooms.
Every Friday, the association provides recorded music for members who like to dance. Deepavali and Christmas Nights have popular entertainment programmes.
The New Year's Eve dance is a great hit and KGA is considering the idea of making the guest fee steep in order to get some exclusivity.
The ITC is very supportive of the club and apart from an annual maintenance fee it also chips in with other assistance.
An ITC Official also sits on the committee. The State Government has also been pro-active in extending its support to the Club.
D. RAVI SHANKAR
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