Pahalgam Diary 2014
Here are some interesting snippets from the J&K Bank PGTI Pahalgam Masters 2014 held at the Lidder Valley Golf Course in Pahalgam.
Scaring away the crows
Crows wreaked havoc at the Lidder Valley Golf Course as they picked up a number of golf balls on a daily basis taking them to be eggs. The professionals however, came up with an innovative idea to keep the crows at bay and ensure the safety of their golf balls. The balls were marked with lines drawn by sketch pens in order to outwit and confuse the birds. The marking on the balls proved to be a deterrent for the crows and had favourable results. But as professional Sujjan Singh put it, “The marking doesn’t guarantee safety from the crows but definitely evens the odds and significantly reduces the chances of the balls being picked up.”
Local kids bathe in the freezing cold water bodies at the golf course
While Pahalgam experienced moderate to hot weather when the tournament was staged during the month of July, the water bodies in the region were still freezing cold. No wonder it was an intriguing sight for all the professional golfers from outside the Kashmir valley when they witnessed local kids jump into the water bodies at the golf course on a daily basis. The kids, mostly teenaged boys, would bathe, swim and have fun in the ice-cold waters for almost an hour every afternoon when the sun was at its brightest. One assumes the kids’ bodies were accustomed to the ice-cold water having grown up in the extreme cold weather of Kashmir. Our photographer even caught one of them wearing his clothes behind a tree trunk after his swim.
Jyoti Randhawa returns to familiar territory
Jyoti Randhawa’s first start of the 2014 PGTI season at Pahalgam marked his return to familiar territory. Randhawa, who arrived in the Kashmir valley a week prior to the Pahalgam event and went to Gulmarg for trout fishing, said, “I’m delighted to be back in Jammu & Kashmir for a tournament. I have very fond memories of playing golf in the state. I played a lot of golf in places such as Jammu, Gulmarg and Nagrota, before turning professional. I also won the last professional tournament held in J&K 10 years back.”
The former Asia No. 1, who celebrated his return to Kashmir with a tied fifth finish at Pahalgam, was also all-praise for the relatively new Lidder Valley Golf Course. “The hills in the backdrop and the pine trees that line the fairways, lend the course a distinct character. This magnificent venue will help promote Jammu & Kashmir as a golfing destination,” said Jyoti.
Shubhankar Sharma’s sister Vandini caddies for him at the Pro-Am event
Shubhankar Sharma, who recently became the youngest winner on the PGTI at age 17 when he triumphed at the PGTI Cochin Masters, had his younger sister Vandini as his caddie during the Pro-Am event in Pahalgam. Vandini, who is a budding writer, often follows her brother on the course during tournaments. She has also caddied for him during practice rounds in the past. But this was the first time that Vandini caddied for Shubhankar at the Pro-Am of a PGTI event. The talented brother-sister duo relished the experience.
Sri Lankans go trekking, experience snow for the first time
Sri Lankan golfers including the likes of Mithun Perera, K Prabagaran and N Thangaraja went trekking on the Chandanwadi route along with a few other Indian golfers during the Pahalgam event. The experience was the first of its kind for the adventurous Sri Lankans, who walked up a snow-clad route and witnessed snow-capped peaks from close range for the first time in their lives. Mithun Perera said, “It was a surreal experience. We don’t have snow in Sri Lanka so witnessing snow gave us a lot of thrill.”
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.
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