tete-a-tete with Capt. ML Das

GII. Which is your favorite Golf Course and why?

MLD. Eagleton The Golf Resort is my most favourite Golf Course. The course is spread over 160 acres of land. Design undulation between the holes are such that you don’t feel you are playing on same plain land. There is sufficient space between two holes in which a good number of trees are planted. It helps to keep at hearing distance between the playing groups.  

GII. For how long have you been playing Golf and what initiated you into this game?

MLD. I am more at maintenance side than playing side. As an Army Officer, I have been attached with Golf since 1971. I joined as Admin Manager in M/s Chamundeshwari Built Tech Pvt. Ltd. (Eagleton is part of it) in 1993 when Eagleton The Golf Resort was started and am still the part of it.

GII. Which Golf Course you have witnessed during Development Phase?

MLD. I was with two golf courses from construction stage to completion stage. 1st one, by accident, Eagleton The Golf Resort. Pacific Coast Design (PCD) was responsible for design and putting the design to the ground with one year guarantee. Mr. Norman Carr was in charge for putting the design to the ground. I had designed and developed a 9 hole course for Dream Valley of Hyderabad. Now Dream Valley has 18 hole golf course under construction under PCD design and constructed by Mr. Prakash Alvares.

GII. Your favorite Golf Course for Hospitality & Management.

MLD. My favorite Golf Course is Eagleton the Golf Resort. Next I would recommend Zion Hills Golf Course in Kolar, Bangalore, Karnataka. Being a hospitality service, one cannot be argumentative and could not afford careless attitude. Apart from all general facilities, which are expected by the public, if you have special or extra facilities, they are to be announced well so that may be one of the reason for visit. The Dream Valley, Hyderabad has got water related games, which is a big attraction for School and College students on Sundays and holidays.

GII. Which all Golf Courses (past and present) you have been associated with?

MLD. I have worked with Eagleton The Golf Resort throughout start to end. Have worked with Pune Golf Club, for almost two years as a Green Keeper and Golf Superintendent (with the permission of management of Eagleton). Permission was given to me because I could convince the Eagleton management that I want to learn my job and gain experience. I have worked with Touche Golf, Bangalore for over a year (with permission from the Management of Eagleton) I have worked with Dream Valley, Hyderabad as a consultant while working with the Eagleton.

GII. Where do you see the Golf Industry after 5 years.

MLD. Golf Industry has a long way to go. What it was 15 years ago and now, there is a vast difference. If we remember, a few years ago we did not have well-organized and qualified units to construct golf courses as per designs but now quite good number of units are there. Now even we have qualified designers as well. However Golf is no more rich people’s game. Many upper middle class specially IT people are fascinated with Golf. Another class may not be interested in playing golf but is interested in golf club membership to take advantage of club facilities for get togethers, commercial meetings and alike. Because golf club facilities are much cheaper than 5 star hotels, Club ambience is much better and peaceful than five star hotels

GII. Give us an example of when you thought ‘outside of the box’. How did it help?

MLD. I don’t have any idea. Sorry.

GII. What is your advice to patrons and colleagues of Golf Courses to help them in increasing their revenues.

MLD. Golf course is a huge area exclusively for golfers and his like-minded friends who may like to walk around while his friend is for a round of golf. But how many friends are like that? It is normally seen if husband proposes for a round of golf to his family, the family may try to convince him for an outing elsewhere other than golf course. The golf course should provide all golf related facilities to the golfer and many other associated facilities to the golfer and his golfing friends. So that get together place may be selected as the golf course. Management may add different sized conference rooms, good restaurant facilities with varieties of foods, good sitting arrangements and licensed bar facilities. Majority of golfers work for good organisations or have their own companies. If all above facilities are provided, many such golfers may like to organise meetings, conferences and get togethers at the golf course admin area. This will further increase because of ambience. Such facilities at the Golf facility will be much cheaper than 5 stars hotels. Not only that, normal hotel crowding may be avoided. Biggest attraction, the crowd will be homogeneous to the conference group. These type of facilities may attract non golfer members as well to avail cost difference from 5 star hotels. Many non golfing members may organise friendly golf tournaments for Golfing associates to promote his business. Facilities like swimming pool, card room, TV room, tennis course, table tennis room and similar facilities will help golfers to avail such facilities for their families. The Golfer’s families also would like to visit the golf course. Many film industries, especially advertisement films, like to shoot in golf course. One need to explore the possibilities. Golf management may think for hoardings at parking area, Tee boxes and many other areas as they deem fit.

GII. Seeing the current trend, do you feel Golf can be as favorite as Cricket in India.

MLD. Golf may not be as favourite as cricket. Cricket match can be enjoyed sitting at a place inside a stadium. But it is not possible for golf. Golf enthusiasts need to walk 1st to 18th Hole which may not be liked by everybody. Golf enthusiast can not enjoy his chips/drinks/gossiping while in course watching game. Of course golf clubs may organise big screen golf tournaments screening which will add to another way of funding.

GII. How many years you feel it may take to reach that level.

MLD. It is very difficult to say. Cricket, football and many other games can be in flood lit ground. People are free in the evening and visit stadium to watch the game and enjoy with friends and families. For all such games, areas are limited and game boundaries are well defined and demarcated. There are no trees in playing ground or inside stadium, may be plenty trees outside stadium. It is not the case with golf. Golf playing area is quite wide and has plenty trees within playing area. Flood lighting whole golfing area is not that easy, of course may be very difficult. Delhi witnessed flood lighting of Golf Course but not successful. Not only India but any other country could match golf witnessing crowd with cricket or football. Let us hope for good.  

GII. How can we grow the numbers of Golfers in India.

MLD.Game or any physical activities are not that common in India. Economic condition of India is not that conducive. In schools/colleges, parents constantly pressurise upon children for higher percentage in class results than games. However, situation is changing. Many games are becoming popular. Golf is picking up fast. Unlike other games, golf can be practiced and skill improvement is possible as an individual. In present days, golf teaching is coming up as a profession and people are doing well in this profession. Following can be considered to grow the Golfing population:
a. The game may be taken to TV shows and school level. If on TV, the children become more inquisitive.
b. Golf clubs may provide selective areas for children to practice at minimal cost.
c. Allow children to play in course under guidance of teachers. Flood lit practice range may be created, so that people in off time can come for practice.
d. Restaurant facilities may be provided for fast food.

e. Club may organise club level limited hole tournaments for children. Promising young golfers may be given extra facilities to encourage.

GII. What excites you on a Golf Course?

MLD. Biggest difference with golf and other games is, in golf all rules are self applied on you. There is no body to impose rules or punish you. Although the game is played in group of four maximum, still it is an individual game. Another beauty of the game is none to compete with on the ground and comment on you. Your skill counts more. 

GII. Favorite 19th Hole Drink.

MLD. White Rum and vodka with odd plate(s) of kebab and light music.