Is golf only a rich man's preserve?

Teeing troubles

Now, this is bad news for golf lovers and enthusiasts. Giving a jolt to golf players, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has hiked the fees of ‘pay and play’ at the 18-hole Qutab Golf Course by 100 per cent.

The 18-hole golf course was an affordable option for those interested in the game. But, after November the scenario has changed. Previously, it was available to anyone who could pay Rs 300 on weekdays and Rs 600 for weekends for a day’s play. But, now the rates have been increased to Rs 600 for a day of golf
on a weekday and Rs 1200 on a weekend.

This golf course was designed and developed by DDA with a state-of-the-art driving range in the golf course, combined with training facilities making it a haven
for beginners.

Qutab Gold Course was known to be an affordable facility accessible to the masses and price was the reason why people took keen interest in this sport. It also encouraged children to participate in this game besides the other ‘popular’ sport – cricket.

Talking to Metrolife, Arjun Singh Barthwal, manager, marketing and golf operations, Classic Golf Resort, says, “The first thing we should understand is that a golf course is very high maintenance and needs a lot of money. And according to me all the privately-owned golf courses are loss-venture projects. Machines like golf buggy are really expensive and imported from USA.”

“And if they have increased the fees, that means they were not able to meet the finances needed for its maintenance. Although, it will pinch a few people, but, I guess it was necessary for them to take this step. And also golf courses do help merit-based and need-based people and those who have the will to play the game, but certain things one cannot avoid,” adds Arjun.

The decision is attracting a lot of public ire as they say that a golf course can’t become a place only for bureaucrats, politicians and the rich – keeping the common man out.
Rishi Narayan, former Asian Games Gold medallist, seconds Arjun on this matter.

“It will definitely affect people, but one needs to understand how much goes into maintaining a golf course. DDA opened it to the public, thus giving the game a great boost. Of course, it will hurt peoples’ pockets, but the charges are still very low as compared to golf courses elsewhere – almost one-third fees is being charged here.”

“Constructing and maintaining a golf course requires a lot of money. And other cities also need encouragement to construct the same for their own golf lovers. If they find out its a loss making venture, they will never invest it. And golf enthusiasts will lose out. The Qutab Golf Course was reportedly struggling and one hopes this decision will benefit them in the future,” says Rishi.

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