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Updated: December 31, 2012 00:44 IST

Good news for wannabe golfers

V. V. Subrahmanyam
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The Qutab Shahi Tombs lend a magnificient backdrop as young girls take to golf in Hyderabad Golf Club near Golconda. PHOTO: P.V.SIVAKUMAR
The Hindu The Qutab Shahi Tombs lend a magnificient backdrop as young girls take to golf in Hyderabad Golf Club near Golconda. PHOTO: P.V.SIVAKUMAR

New scheme being launched fixing a nominal, annual fee of Rs 1,000 for all students! In fact, there was a good response already as about 75 students are active members now," A. Bhaskar Reddy, Commissioner of Income Tax and senior vice-president of Golf Association of Andhra Pradesh, said.

Golf may not just be an elite sport and many youngsters from the lower strata of society too can enjoy the feel of it, especially students, as a new scheme is being launched fixing a nominal, annual fee of Rs 1,000 for all students -- from LKG to Ph.D -- who wish to train at the HGC course at Naya Qila (Golconda) here.

“In fact, there was a good response already as about 75 students are active members now," A. Bhaskar Reddy, Commissioner of Income Tax and senior vice-president of Golf Association of Andhra Pradesh, said on Friday.

Attractive offer

“There is also another scheme which in fact anyone can avail -- pay Rs. 200 to play a full round of golf which is peanuts compared to about Rs. 6,000 charged for one round in the other high-profile golf courses," GAAP official revealed.

More importantly, GAAP is keen to set up driving ranges in Vijayawada, Vizag and Tirupati to attract many new faces to the sport. Soon, there will be inter-school golf tournaments too.

A proposal to set up a driving range on Necklace Road is pending with the State government. We are planning a golf training centre in Hyderabad first and other centres in the State," Mr. Reddy informed.

The golf authorities have also decided to invite educational institutions right through the year to the HGC golf course to let the students get a feel and take up golf with all seriousness.

Clearing misconception

The whole idea is not only to popularise the sport but also clear the misconception that golf is only for the elite. In fact, in the Ernst & Young State championship scheduled tomorrow, of the 40 in the 0-7 handicap category, 20 competitors are caddies (persons who carry the kit and traverse the golf course when seniors play).

“Till now we could boast of only Anirban Lahiri (who is now settled in Bengaluru). So, we are keen to see at least two gifted golfers from the State make it big on the international stage in the next two years,” says G. J. Dawson, general secretary of GAAP.

Mr. Dayakar Reddy, tournament director, insists that no golf course in the country provides such rich heritage as the backdrop as the HGC course does with the majestic Golconda Fort.

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