|Bilkis Jehan, the winner of Ruban Memorial Health Tournament, and Babita Kumar, one of the eight women participants, tee off at the Patna Golf Club. Pictures by Nagendra Kumar Singh
Neelkamal Ranjan was on a high to try a full swing and putt in style in an 18 hole game on the lush, green turf of Patna Golf Club.
After all, this was the first time the homemaker got an opportunity to take part in the 18-hole version of the game in the club. The occasion was Ruban Memorial Health Tournament organised by the Ruban Group of Hospitals at the Patna Golf Club on Saturday.
“This was the first time in Patna Golf Club’s history that women golfers took part in the 18 hole game. They had earlier participated in the 9-hole version. Golf is increasingly becoming popular among women in the city. We had earlier seen two-to-three women participating in such events. But this time, we had eight participants,” said Manik Vedsen, the secretary of the Patna Golf Club.
The mood among the participants was equally upbeat. “If I am playing this game today, the credit goes to my husband captain Rajeev Ranjan, an officer in merchant navy. It was he who took me to the Patna Golf Club after we got married in 1986. Before my marriage, I had little idea about this game. But once I started accompanying him to Patna Golf Club and saw him playing, I got hooked to it,” said Neelkamal.
“I am exhausted after playing the 18 hole game. It took me four hours. I complete the nine-hole version in one-and-a-half hours,” added the Jagdeo Path resident
Bilkis Jehan, the principal of Bankipore Girls High School who was among the eight contestants, said: “I am passionate about golf. I just love the game because it makes you learn so many things. It is not only about moving in green surroundings with a club and hitting the ball. It helps a person increase his or her concentration level.” She added: “My day (on Saturday) started very early because I had to hoist the National Flag as part of the Republic Day celebrations, after which I rushed to the Patna Golf Club for the 18-hole tournament.”
The principal said: “Playing 18 holes may be a child’s play for men. But it is not something very easy for the women. I am happy to become a handful of women golfers to have played 18 holes.”
Anwesha Singh, a computer science student at BIT, Meshra, and a participant of the tournament, said: “Women golfers are more disciplined than their male counterparts. Be it extremely cold or hot weather condition, the women golfers always arrive for practice on time. But you can often see the male golfers staying back at home if they feel the weather is not much comfortable.”
A separate competition was held as part of the tournament for the senior citizens on Saturday that saw participation of around 30 competitors. On Sunday, around 30 people took part in the handicap category.
Personalities like additional director-general of police Ravinder Kumar and Patna High Court judge Justice Samrendra Pratap Singh took part in the event. A golf handicap is a measure of an amateur player’s ability to play golf. Upon completion of a round of golf, each player subtracts his or her individual golf handicap from the score, resulting in a net score. The system allows golfer of various degrees of skill to compete against each other.