Avid golfer K.P.B. Menon conferred special facility by the KGA
Golfer K.P.B. Menon’s tee off belies his age. The sizzling summer heat does not bring down his spirits, and though the golf buggy service is available for players above 70, he refuses it and walks the course to complete the game within the stipulated time.
Mr. Menon, who retired as a financial adviser in General Electric, turned 90 this March and he couldn’t have received a better gift — his teeing time is now unlimited. Considering Mr. Menon’s age, the Karnataka Golf Association’s (KGA) managing committee decided to confer a special facility on him. While an associate member gets to play at the KGA four times a month, Mr. Menon can use the course any number of times. “It is our privilege to have him play on our course,” KGA president M.P. Paul said and added that Mr. Menon’s playing group brought his age to their notice.
A ritual that he has followed for some time, Mr. Menon enters the sprawling 124-acre course around noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “I seldom use an umbrella and never a buggy. The course is about 7.5 km. When you start playing, the heat is forgotten,” he says. A member of the prestigious Royal Calcutta Golf Club (oldest in the country) and currently an associate member of the KGA, Mr. Menon’s tryst with golf started with an auction in 1961 in the then Calcutta. He and his friend M.P. Keshavan were at the regular Sunday auction when he chanced upon an odd golf set. “While a regular golf set has 14 clubs, the odd set had 7. I bought the rest as my game improved. Since then, golf has become an integral part of my life.”
Age has never been much of a factor in his game as he, along with his golf partners, completes the course in around five hours, while it takes around four-and-a-half hours for regular golfers. However, the number of strokes that he takes to complete the 18-hole, par-72 course, is much more than before.
Mr. Menon, who started playing at the KGA in 2002, has also reduced the number of playing days from every day in Kolkata to twice a week now.“The game has become very competitive and also attracted many players,” he said when asked to compare the game from the 60s to now.
While thanking the KGA for the privilege extended to him, Mr. Menon, however, said he was happy playing twice a week.