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Guest column: Dark clouds and sunshine at Chandigarh golf club

The unfortunate mauling of a toddler by a bunch of stray dogs at a city park some weeks ago was on my mind and brought to focus a similar incident ‘in waiting’ at the Chandigarh Golf Club.

punjab Updated: Jul 28, 2018 22:25 IST
Col Avnish Sharma (retd)
Col Avnish Sharma (retd)
Chandigarh,Chandigarh golf club,stray dogs
Despite kitchen raids and stray dogs, the Chandigarh Golf Club members remain upbeat. (HT File )

The last few golf rounds at the club have been terrible. Not without reasons, however. One was self-inflicted and others imposed.

The unfortunate mauling of a toddler by a bunch of stray dogs at a city park some weeks ago was on my mind and brought to focus a similar incident ‘in waiting’ at the Chandigarh Golf Club.

Likely victims this time around could have been super senior citizens who frequent the course to have a fulfilling round and to add years to their life, golf being widely recognised as a therapy sport. Children, budding champions of tomorrow, too, could have been vulnerable.

On the first day, I counted 36 playful mongrels of all sizes. The second day the count went up by 11 with some animals appearing to be more aggressive than merely playful. The third day and thereafter, the number kept on swelling. Ram Asre, my know-it-all caddy, showered wisdom: “Sir, since our club is a safe haven, dogs from neighbouring places want to come and settle here”. I was sceptical. “But Ram Asre, the existing resident canines normally don’t allow migrants to enter their territory.” Given to a subtle sense of humour, he was candid, “Sir, since expanse of real estate is no constraint, they follow the policy of live and let live!”

On a mission, we observed that they are indeed friendly and don’t disturb the play since some members and the staff feed them regularly, a few out of superstition and others charity driven.

The imposed reasons for my poor game were though not as scary but “wallet unfriendly,” nevertheless . After having braved a rise in monthly subscription after a long drawn out lease issue now put to rest, albeit after a monumental increase in licence fee which the club has to shell out to the Chandigarh administration, the excitement was not over yet.

In a blitzkrieg type raid on the club kitchen the other day (the UT Food Safety Department challaned Chandigarh Golf Club for preparing food in ‘unhygienic’ condition early this month), our snacks (during a game) and monthly dinner were threatened. If that was not enough, the municipal corporation slapped a notice of property tax amounting to crores on this sports institution.

It’s unlikely that the woes will end anytime soon. Definitely not in the near future. Gilly, our perennial president, has been the man facing these challenges since the lease issue surfaced during his earlier stint too. The fighter that he is, we are sure the outcome will be member friendly.

The unfortunate demise of Col Paramjit , the course manager, also came as shocker. The gentleman, who had brought the golf course to near-international standards by his sustained hard work and vision, died of a cardiac arrest while on a short stint of leave with his son at Shillong.

His absence will be sorely missed, though Sweety Brar, captain of the course, has swung into action and taken charge. Thanks to him and his team, the course remains in its pristine state.

There have been positives, however. Dr Kocchar, the director administration , is a die-hard rocker. Tambola, the intellectual game is going from strength to strength with sponsors waiting literally in a queue. Club nights are more peppy. Members, especially the better halves, are upbeat.

Unfazed by the ‘prime time’ raid on his kitchen, Bala, the ever evolving chairman for bar and catering remains the darling of tipplers and gluttons. Col Iqbal, the chairman, media and club magazine, is a man of action and committed to ensuring that the magazine continues to entertain as well as inform readers about club activities.

Personally, for me there are tough golfing days ahead. My handicap has been slashed by 4. I suppose, the chairman tournament and handicapping committee is on an undisclosed mission (to create more Shubhankar Sharmas) and for it to get accomplished, someone has to be a ‘fall guy’.

So be it.

(The writer can be contacted at

First Published: Jul 28, 2018 22:25 IST