Whistleblower's musings... Then some trivia. Write to me at ranjanyumnam@gmail.com

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A fine way of putting it

How to win influential friends and win over people who matter? Simply invest in golf clubs and head to the nearest Greens.
Move over P3 parties with their share of air-kissing and falling hemlines, Delhi has found a more savvy way to unwind and network. So instead of nightclubs and discotheques, Delhi's creme de la creme are meeting at the golfing Greens. And why not, if such dos come with a snob quotient that can give any midnight revelry a run for its money? "For one, playing golf is expensive and a privilege of the few. A golf club membership cost as much as Rs 3-5 lakh and the equipments also costs a bomb," says Rishi Narain, golf manager and former Asian gold medalist in professional golf. The membership comes with add-ons like access to swimming pools, gyms, and restaurants, which are offered exclusively to the members at subsidised rates. "These are quite attractive to the spouse and family members," he adds.
The very nature of the sport also fosters social camaraderie. "There is no other game that provides four-and-a-half hours of solitude to the two players. It's more a social exercise than a sport," says SK Sinha, golf manager.
But why is golf becoming so popular in Delhi? Why not Mumbai or Bangalore, which have more corporate whizkids than Delhi does? "Delhi has beautiful surroundings and an atmosphere of old world languor. The city also has history, culture, and the monuments. And of course, it has the best infrastructure in the country. What else do you need for the perfect golfing experience?" explains Kapil Dev, who is an avid golf enthusiast. Golf has become such a big hit in Delhi that even those who don't know a birdie from a putt go to golf courses. "The putting greens are a refreshingly peaceful place where you can meet friends, and be in communion with nature. Other than that, a golf course is a place for social networking, where important contacts and business deals can be forged. If you want to go to a place where you want to meet the who's who, it has got to be the golf club," says model Shefali Talwar.
For the same reason, celebrities like Suresh Oberoi, Diana Hayden, Pooja Batra and Manpreet Brar are thronging the greens. For Manpreet, it's a style statement. "A game of golf is very refreshing," says Manpreet.