| A guard outside the chief minister’s residence. On the other side is the golf course. Telegraph picture
Bangalore, Aug. 4: Swinging iron on the fairways of the 128-year-old Bangalore Golf Club could soon be history since a neighbour, chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, has taken umbrage.
Last week, a stray golf ball came bouncing down the fairway, cleared the high protective nets and ricocheted off the road straight into a policeman’s face.
The accidental strike might not have been taken seriously but for the fact that the policeman was on duty outside the home-office of Kumaraswamy facing the picturesque golf club.
The police immediately swung into action, identified the offending golfer and gave him a dressing down. “What if it had hit the CM'” they asked him.
It almost did, a few days later. Two days ago, another ball flew off the 18-hole course and slammed into the chief minister’s official car, denting the bonnet.
Kumaraswamy’s convoy was cruising down the road when it happened, sending his security into a tizzy.
Red-faced, the police top brass decided that they ought to swing the iron at the club. They have written to the Bangalore urban district deputy commissioner to close down the club because it’s a “security threat”.
Golf balls can hurt, say the police. Ask the judge’s driver who too was hit while waiting to pick up his boss who lives in an official compound opposite the course.
“We have registered cases. The CM was holding a janata darshan on July 22 when the first ball hit the policeman. A few days later, another hit his car. The club is located in a high-density traffic area where VIP movements are frequent.
“There are many unreported cases, in one an industrialist’s son was hit in the eye,” police commissioner Neelam A. Rao, who recommended the closure, said.
The club’s captain, K.N. Shanth Kumar, told The Telegraph it was too early for him to comment as he had yet to get the full picture. “I really can’t say anything till next week.”
Club members are aghast that an institution where genteel folk have been indulging in a gentle sport since the days of the Raj was being labelled a security threat. “We already have protective nets, we need to raise them a bit. They should give us some time,” an old-timer said.
Some members say certain bureaucrats had lost club elections and might be retaliating.
On its 125th anniversary, Ruskin Bond wrote a coffee-table book on the club. A Golf Story says Winston Churchill spent time at the club as a young officer and owed it a princely sum of Rs 13 which was written off as an “irrecoverable sum” in 1899.
“Playing golf is more than a game; it’s a way of life,” Bond concluded.
It’s a way of life for yesterday’s maharajas and today’s corporate kings, the police had better take note. Srikanta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, who would have worn the title of Maharaja of Mysore, is a member of the club as is Vijay Mallya, the liquor lord.