Come January and 64 clubs including the over 250-year-old Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Scotland, will be in Kolkata. The occasion: a unique tournament comprising only golf clubs deemed 'Royal' by the Crown of England. Battle for the first Royals Trophy starts at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) on January 21.
St Andrews, which has hosted the Open Championship (the world's oldest Major) on 27 occasions and will also stage next year's chapter, is an institution in the world game.
If this "celebration of passion and nostalgia" lends a different hue to the meet, tournament director Brandon de Souza added another shade to it. "Make no mistake, we're not creating competition, but fostering camaraderie and the pride of playing for your club," he told HT.
At stake will be a trophy crafted of sterling silver. "Crystal is in vogue, but we wanted something that would survive the test of time," de Souza said.
With club crests from 'Royals' the world over, the trophy will cover all continents. "The idea behind the rotation is to free the host from worrying about expenses and logistics a second time," de Souza said.
Coming to brass-tacks, four members, including the captain, will represent a club, and the format on the first two days will be general stableford. The format on January 23 and 24, the main event days, will be eclectic stableford and Texas scramble respectively.
To ensure a perfect blend of business and pleasure, the evenings will be grand affairs. Starting with the "welcome dinner" and the "patrons dinner", there will also be a "black tie dinner", where participants (40 clubs are already on board) will do their bit to revive a dying custom by turning out in tuxedos.
Backed by a telecom major and a projected expenditure of Rs 50-60 lakh, RCGC, which was conferred the Royal Charter by Queen Victoria, is trying to "create something novel and leave behind a legacy for the ensuing generations to savour".