Jharkhand can benefit by making golf a medium of tourism.
Though the state lacks adequate golf infrastructure but the tourism department can cash in on the kind of craze the sport has been able to generate in the country.
Alan Singh, who captained the India golf team in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, feels the Jharkhand government can think on setting up the required golf infrastructure for promoting tourism.
Barring Jamshedpur and capital Ranchi, the state lacks golf courses. The facility in Ranchi is owned by the military and entry is restricted.
“I feel the government should think about golf tourism which presents a potential for growth. But the required facilities and planning should be in place before embarking on the project. People abroad travel to play golf in cities with available facilities. You can talk about employment and business if golf tourism is in place. I think the government should take initiative and try to latch on to the business opportunity golf tourism provides, ” Singh emphasised.
He further stressed that golf was no longer a sport for the elite. “Thought of golf labelled as an event for elite was there some three-four decades back. Golf equipment was not available in the country. In fact, the government was not supportive of this sport. But that is not so anymore. Golf equipment is now available freely in the country. Everywhere there are pro shops. Places like Delhi has 13-14 courses and cost of equipment is reasonable,” Singh, who was part of the national side in the World Cup held in Fiji in 1979 , added.
He said golf has opened up in the country and is no longer member-based. “There are courses where ‘pay and play’ rules are followed. You don’t have to be a member of any golf course. This is happening in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Jharkhand should also start in a similar fashion,” he added.
A former high performance manager in Indian Golf Union, Singh said the upcoming Tata Steel Tour Championship in Jamshedpur (from December 17 to 20) will be high on excitement. “People are looking forward to the event. Some top professional golfers are expected to assemble in the city. The Golmuri course is in fine shape. The faiways are very well trimmed and speed (of the course) will be between 9 to 9.5,” he signed off.