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The final day of The telegraph Cup Golf 2012, presented by Emta in association with Ballantine’s, at rcgc

Tournament director of The Telegraph Cup Golf 2012, Brandon de Souza, pens his final piece on the gentleman’s game at the Royal...

Finally, a hole-in-one

For a starter today let me dish out the news that finally, every golfer’s dream, the hole-in-one, actually happened today at the Royal. Nobody split their trousers or made a hole in their socks, the hole-in-one was for real by golfer Manish Agarwal on the 13. A day he won’t ever forget!

Fatty AND HIS shoes

Sanjeev Mehra aka Fatty (in picture) was the champion individual golfer of the tournament with a gross of 70. The only time that Fatty is quiet is when he is hitting the golf ball. And how serious is he about his golf? Check out his custom-made red shoes complete with his name — FATTY — on them. Now how many people would think of getting that for some $250?!

On a serious note, I have seen this boy since he was a two-year-old. Fatty is one of the most talented youngsters and he has always been habitually fat. He went to boarding school at St. Paul’s, Darjeeling. The joke used to be… he would come home, eat, eat, eat, get fat and go to school, spend a semester, come back and he would have lost all his weight. So who said boarding school doesn’t have its value? Could somebody please offer him a senior class in a boarding school so that we can get back the thin Fatty we all love? The fat Fatty is not too bad either.

You can’t take away from the fact that he is also one of the finest golfers that Royal has today. Regardless of his bulk, lack of fitness, and what people might have to say about him, I bet even Ranadeep (Moitra) would have to take a back seat and accept how good Fatty is with his golf game.

But again, it runs in the genes, I guess. His sister Smriti is one of the finest lady professional golfers, having qualified to play on the US PGA tour, following her Europe tour.

And Fatty? Show him food and drink and he will eat for you and the whole of Africa. You just can’t get him to diet, ever!

IT’S A ‘FAIR’ GAME

Lots of young ladies have actually taken to the sport and this year has been the biggest turnout for women, over a dozen.

In fact, I heard someone say that with all the whitening creams in the market, Indian women now need to stop getting scared of getting dark and not getting married, and take to the turf with their clubs. There is Kevin Brand ready to teach all you ladies how to swing that club, so please come out in larger numbers.

Belt Up and Shut Up

We have heard of various sorts of belts till date, including the chastity ones, but who would have thought that golfers would be sporting belts in colours as bright as neon, orange, blue, yellow, pink — and all with great pride. A statement indeed!

Nawabi Sports

It’s nice to see the Chhote Nawabs — Akshay Khanna, Pranav Trehan, Saharsh Parekh and Biren Dey — golfing here at The Telegraph Cup. Would be even better to see one of their counters at the Merchants Cup soon enough, so that it’s their mouth-watering giloutis and kakoris flying off the kitchen counters instead of only the bektis.

A word of advice to all the outstation golfers on the turf — do not leave the city without a taste of Chhote Nawab. If still in doubt, check out the line for the visa to Bangladesh being complimented with the same line-up outside Chhote Nawab (P.S: The Bangladeshi High Commission is right next door to the Circus Avenue restaurant). Most Bangladeshi visa holders from Calcutta are patrons of the Mughlai and Awadhi destination. Who would miss the chance of having lip-smacking kebabs on their way to the airport?

The Victor & the Vanquished

Golf is considered the game of many uncertainties. They say every time you are about to give up the game, you hit one good shot, which brings you back. This event has shown up many such surprises.

Apart from sponsoring the Straight Drive, DBS Bank kept everybody at bay by winning The Telegraph Challenge Cup. For Merchants, even though Pradeep Bajoria of McLeod & Co., the star tennis player as a junior and now a leading corporate head, gave his best, Lakshman ‘Bunny’ Singh did pull through at the end, sending The Telegraph Merchants Cup back to the Williamson Magor stead.

Pssst… the last two virgins sponsored by H&H Hellenic Heritage from Greece, but coming soon to Calcutta, were taken home by Pallav Borgahain and Shashi Tiwary.


Whose sport is it anyway?

Golf is a sport for the businessman, service man, busy man, old man, but what about the woman? Ruchira Bhuwalka, 40, gallantly stepped into hubby Ashish’s shoes after he came down with fever. “In my family everyone plays golf — my husband and both my kids. I used to feel kind of left out, so I thought why not take up the sport myself? Now, all four of us play together at least once a month,” smiled Ruchira, super-excited about getting a pat on hole 13 at The Telegraph Cup on Friday.

Tee and tea: (From left) Amit Gurung, Ravi Kumar and Rakesh Poddar, though representing different companies, had a whale of a time bonding over drinks and golfer jokes at the club Shamiana. “This is my fifth year of playing at the Royal, and I took the first hole really well,” said Amit of McLeod Russel, Assam.

Ravi Kumar from RPSG was the surprise package. “I took up golfing some 10 days ago, and here I am, playing for The Telegraph Merchants Cup! I’m shocked that I was able to cover all 18 holes. I’m a total golf convert now. And I’m taking back some awesome friends and a sure supply of brilliant Assam tea,” said Ravi, grinning at Amit.

First timers: “I was a footballer and a cricketer. I took to golf very late in life, but at our age what matters is going out to the course with friends and enjoying the game. And the Royal has been a complete treat in that respect,” said 58-year-old P.K. Saikia (left) from Banamalie Tea Estate, Assam, in Calcutta for the first time with teammate Siddharth Chaliha (right). “There are lots of tea people who have come from Assam this year and we hope to bring a bigger contingent next time,” laughed Siddharth.

Rumour is that leopards and elephants often join golfers in Assam? “Well, they do. Though not on a regular basis, but every golfer there has encountered a leopard or some other animal on the course at least once. All you have to do is stay still or carry on playing,” said Siddharth.

Catch ‘em young: Anurag Neog was one of the youngsters at The Telegraph Cup. “I literally grew up on golf courses, having held the club in my hands for the first time at age seven. Times are changing, golf is no longer a game just for the old and the experienced,” said the 20-year-old who was representing the Banamalie Tea Estate.

Golf memories: Fitness expert and t2 columnist Ranadeep Moitra teed off early in the morning. He’s been playing at RCGC for the last 20-odd years, he said. “I started playing the Merchants Cup way back in 1989, while working with J Thomas & Co. As a 21-year-old, I used to be extremely rowdy and I remember Ashoka Batra (the chairman) calling me ‘a chip off the old block’! Being the biggest sporting event for corporates, the golf didn’t matter, what mattered was the camaraderie and the last night of merry-making. I remember this gentleman who went out to the parking lot after a night-long party and said his car was gone! He was sure that his car was stolen. But after a week or so, it was retrieved from the pond bang opposite the parking lot! Apparently, the gentleman was so drunk that he did not realise that his car was on neutral gear when he parked, and it rolled off into the pond. And guess what he said? ‘I was quite thirsty in any case.’”