All about links and networking

All about links and networking

Many golfers in the City feel that the game has become a lot more business oriented in recent years

All about links and networking

spacious Champion Reef Golf Course.

But lately, the golf circuit has witnessed the entry of new players who seem to be less focussed on the game and more so on networking and seeking out business opportunities on the links. Several veteran golfers feel that this has changed the nature of the game completely. Metrolife speaks to a few golfers to understand why this is so.

B S V Kumar, a professional golfer who has played in countries all over the world like Zambia, South Africa and the UK, is of the opinion that golf in Bangalore has now become a lot more business oriented. Kumar has been playing since 1962, and feels that the demographic of people who play has changed completely, especially in the last 10 or 15 years.

“The game was more for the elite earlier, with only the rich playing. This was mostly because it wasn’t very affordable; equipment was expensive, and not easily available in India,” he says. But now, this isn’t the case anymore. “There are two kinds of golfers these days. Although there is a hardcore group which wants to pursue it as a profession, there are also many who see it merely as a status symbol. Playing golf gives the business community a perfect opportunity to network. Often, we see business deals being signed on the golf courses,” he says. Arjun Lall, who has been playing golf for the last six years although he became a professional only two years back, agrees that the nature of the game has changed, especially because awareness about golf has increased. “There are so many new courses these days, and younger people have started playing. It definitely is more affordable now as well; earlier, playing golf was considered much more exclusive and getting membership in clubs was difficult. Now the opportunity is open to a lot more people, which is probably why there is so much networking on the links,” he says. He adds that another reason that many people are now being attracted to the game is that it pays well. “We have so many golfers doing well in America and Europe. Sponsorships have increased too. Golf can help you make a lot of money,” he says.

However, not everyone agrees with the view that new entrants into the golfing circuit are more interested in networking than the game. Pritam Haridas, a 20-year-old who has been golfing competitively for the last ten years, says that he is completely serious about the game. “My father introduced me to the game and since then I have been travelling all over India, competing in the national circuit,” he says. When asked about his peers, he maintains that none of them visit the course only to network. “The people I play with are young, but very serious. Most of them want to take it up professionally. In fact, by the end of this year, two or three of them will become professionals,” he says.

Similarly, Trishul Chinappa, who has been playing competitively for the last eight years, says that stereotyping today’s golfers as not being serious about the game can’t hold. “Earlier, golf was an old man’s game, used mostly for socialising. Today, we see young kids picking it up as a career option,” he says.