Ghei gears up for Delhi Golf Club League, welcomes possibility of IPL-like event

With the Delhi Golf Club League kicking off on September 29, fans eagerly await to see some of the national capital’s top golfers unite for the highest honor at the prestigious Delhi Golf Club, at Dr Zakir Hussain Marg. Gadgil Western Masters 1995 champion Gaurav Gee, who serves as a mentor for the Sterling Swingers, paid tribute to the tournament that began last year. Speaking to the Hindustan Times during a press conference, the veteran golfer analyzed how the second edition of the tournament could be better than last year.

“So last year was very new. It was the first time and everything was very new. So as General Balbir Sandhu (Chairman of the Tournament Organizing Committee, Delhi Golf Club) mentioned himself, we have a few things to try to make it more transparent and equitable. So whether it is about juniors golfers, how much each team can have, and whether it is a handicap,” he said.

Guy explained how the tournament organizers dealt with some of the loopholes from the inaugural season, and said, “So, you know, everyone in India finds a loophole in how to get one over the other. So there were a few teams that were trying some loopholes. So we all came down.” And we said ‘No, for the league to succeed, it has to be competitive and it has to be fair.’ Then all the team owners and mentors sat down and said ‘Yes, whatever we decide has to be for the league’s long-term prospects and it has to go from strength to strength every year.’

“That way you know everybody got together and made some good decisions and so from year one we have this year a much more competitive relationship, the distribution of players and teams. Like I said, you know, every year I’m sure this year we will have a great league, but we will learn again For something for next year. And you know, as long as that’s the spirit you want to maintain, with fair competition and good competition, the league will be successful.”

Delhi Golf Club’s second season will feature 20 teams, with the Grand Final scheduled for October 22. Each team will consist of 20 players, a mentor and a coach each. The tournament will be played in the “Four-ball-better-ball Matchplay” format. The league will be played in two phases; Round robin stage, followed by a knockout. During the play-off between two teams, each team will have seven pairs (14 players). One pair from each team will face a pair from the other team in a “best of fours” form, with all players playing 75% of their original handicaps. Also, the twenty groups were divided into four groups.

With the rise of competitions such as the Pro Kabaddi League, Ghei also spoke of the prospects for a golf tournament similar to the Indian Premier League. “I’m pretty sure that seeing the league’s success in the clubs, it won’t be long before we have something like that in professional golf, you know. I mean anything that is successful, that brings people together, gets eyeballs together, sooner or later ‘People will try to replicate it. Kabaddi says, badminton, all that stuff. Golf, I think it’s going to happen very soon,'” he added.

Golf as a sport in India saw a sudden rise in popularity after the Tokyo Olympics, when Aditi Ashok finished fourth in the women’s event. Speaking about how the sport could have a “real boom,” Guy said, “I think that’s the first step, to become an Olympic sport, to become, allow the pros in the Asian Games. You know when you’re in line for a medal you get Attention of the nation.You know, you can get all the prize money, but only golfers follow it.But when you’re in line for a medal, it gets everyone’s attention, and now the government pays attention to what’s going on, you know, they show a lot of Attention.So I’m subscribed to Delhi Golf Association which is Delhi State Association and now we have CSR funding to implement Junior Development Program.So we took 12 kids.We take them out,make them train,do a lot of good things,Ministry of Sports has given us 25k for events Events. So people realize the potential of golf. And the little ones, and the kids are really involved and excited. They know there’s a sport that can, you know, give them a chance to travel the orld world and change their lives.”

“Very slowly, things are slowly looking in the right direction. But we need a great deal of support just in order that it is not easy for children to get to the golf course. That is why the government has to go in and implement the driving ranges, the accessible public courses.” Maybe not an 18-hole course, but just a driving course, a nine-hole course.Once that happens, it’s easy for people from non-golf backgrounds to get into golf.Then you’ll see the real boom.

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