It was a grim Ashit Luthra as he delivered the keynote address at the 52nd annual general body meeting of the Indian Golf Union (IGU) in September last. The IGU had suffered losses worth R 31 lakh in the fiscal 2008-09 and the president appeared over-eager to clear the air.
After lamenting on how the IGU had lost out on much-needed revenue promised by business houses, Luthra listed the various heads under which the IGU had had to bear “more than normal expenditure”.
Among them was the invitation to international consultant, Dominic Wall, to “prepare a world-class junior development programme”. It is alleged that Wall was summoned at the insistence of an influential Council member from the South Zone.
Wall, who worked in various capacities with Golf Australia and Australian Golf Union, but was at a “loose end” when approached, was pleased to offer his expertise for a handsome sum of R 14.5 lakh.
Two years down, Wall's “plan to reshape the future of Indian golf” is still in the rudimentary stages of implementation and the IGU is smarting under, what was a “needless expense”.
All it needed was an inclination to look within rather than outwards and the IGU could have ended March 31, 2009, on a firmer footing. In 2003, Raian Irani, then a part of the junior committee and now a Council member, presented the draft of a “proposed plan for development and excellence programmes in junior golf”.
When contacted by HT, Irani refused to comment, but a source spelt out why the programme failed to find takers. “It was ahead of its time, but it had more to do with our mindset. As Indians, we tend to scoff when someone from our midst puts forth an idea, but when a foreigner says the same; we are up on our feet, applauding.”
Incidentally, several of Irani's recommendations are now part of the South Zone's junior development programme and Wall has made a special mention in his report.
“Irani's report was circulated amongst the Council members but no one bothered to read it and it went into the cold storage. Wall's presentation is an extension of the earlier report, only that it is better worded and more exhaustive,” the source said.
As the Royal & Ancient Golf Club's director for the Asia Pacific, Wall might possess impeccable credentials but a study of the two reports throws up startling similarities (see box). Ashit Luthra could not be reached as he refused to take calls. The Hong Kong-based Wall too was unavailable on telephone and an email evoked no response despite waiting for more than 24 hours.