The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fever grips Chowrasia city
- Three-day amateur golf tournament tees off

Sisters Isha and Siddhi, students of classes VII and V at Pratt Memorial School, developed an interest in golf after being introduced to the sport by their father Vicky Kapoor, a weekend golfer. Both now want to take up golf as a profession. At 10, Siddhi is the youngest participant in the ongoing 54-hole Taj Bengal Golf Trophy.

Six years ago, Mamta Bhargava’s husband took care of the kids and the household for a week when she participated in a tournament in Kodaikanal. The 46-year-old advocate of Calcutta High Court and captain of the Ladies’ Golf Union of Tollygunge Club believes that it is possible to play good golf only if “your mind is completely at ease and thus, your family has to be supportive”.

Two days after Calcutta boy Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia won the Indian Masters in Delhi, golf fever is in the air. This was evident at Tollygunge Club, where the three-day amateur tournament teed off to a blistering start.

Among the 60-plus participants were greenhorns like the Kapoor sisters and evergreens like Bharati Ghosh Dastidar, whose romance with golf began in 1998, when her husband registered their names for a trophy called Valentine Cup.

“I was 63 at the time and had never picked up a golf club before. My husband began encouraging me to take up the game seriously when I proved to be a naturally gifted golfer,” says the former lecturer of JD Birla Institute of Home Science.

Bhargava, leading at the end of the first day (18 holes) with a net score of 67, believes that Chowrasia’s feat will be a shot in the arm for golf in the city. “He is from Calcutta and has risen from such a humble background that it will inspire many youngsters to take up the sport seriously,” she said, before pointing out that getting a sponsor, though, can be difficult.

Taljinder Singh, the general manager of tournament sponsor Taj Bengal, too, admitted that bagging a sponsorship is difficult in golf. “We have sponsored 27 editions of the tournament. We will definitely sponsor individual players if we spot exceptional talent.”

According to the coaches, golf has to reach more youngsters in the city for it to take off.

Indrajit Bhalotia, who trains 160 junior golfers at Royal Calcutta Golf Club and Tollygunge Club, including the Kapoor sisters, told Metro that Calcutta International School and The Heritage School are in talks with his camp for a tie-up.

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