With membership plans in limbo, golf lovers pay by the hour

Published: 21 November, 2013 02:23 IST | Vinita Devendra |

While the memberships won't be offered for another year, enthusiasts are paying Rs 500 per hour to use the services

Golf enthusiasts will have to wait for a while to gain membership to the Kharghar Valley Golf Course. Before introducing the membership plans, golf course officials want the public to get acquainted with the place and the sport first. Open to all, the charges are Rs 500 per hour.

Long way to go: Golf course officials want the public to get acquainted with the place and the sport first before introducing their membership plans

The officials claim that lack of publicity of the golf course has made them postpone the membership plan for a year. City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had targeted a collection of Rs 1 crore in six months through commercial use of the golf course by the public, and by hosting international matches.

Facts and figures
Initially, the course was designed to have 18 holes at a cost of Rs 52 crore but has only 11 holes at the cost of Rs 38 crores. CIDCO was refused
permission by the forest department for using its land to construct all the 18 holes and permission for the remaining seven holes are still remaining.

Of the 11 holes, eight are used by professionals to practice for tournaments. Beginners and the public visiting the course use the remaining three
holes. It’s been a year since the golf course was made open to the public and there are many who are addicted to the game and visit the course every weekend.

Gaining popularity
“Many tourists also come here to play golf when they are here in Mumbai. I have observed that many people have purchased flats in Khargarh to be closer to the game,” said Ayush Khanna, a frequent visitor to the course.  Officials are now planning to build a new clubhouse in collaboration with IGU (Indian Golf Union). Forty per cent of children in the age group of 10-12 years come go try their hand at golf here.

Spreading the word
“This game is like meditation, there is peace of mind while one plays and one is surrounded with greenery and the beauty of nature. However as most people aren’t aware of this golf course, we haven’t begun with the membership plans. It would begin approximately in a year,” said Deepak Koshti, general manager of the golf course.

“I have been waiting for a golf course to come up in Navi Mumbai for the last few years. With this Khargarh golf course opened, am very happy and thankful to CIDCO,” said Vishwajit Desai, engineer at a shipping company and a regular visitor to the golf course.

Youngsters flock to course for jobs
The CIDCO Kharghar Valley Golf Course has generated employment opportunities for many Kharghar residents. Instead of travelling long distances to get to their work places, some have now found work closer to home at the golf course. Many of the employees here hail from Dambole village in Kharghar who have taken up jobs as caddies and grass trimmers.

The ground is maintained on a daily basis and there are around 4 to 5 women employed to trim the grass so that the game can be played easily and properly. There are around 40 caddies. Twelve of the boys are being trained to play golf and build a career in this sport. “I am a caddy here for the past one year and have been learning to play golf for four months.

One day, I want to become the best player and achieve my goals in this game and lead a better and prosperous life”, said 19-year-old caddy, Ram Khalge. Coach Dinesh More has been training people at the golf course for one year now. He started of as a caddie before he learned the game of golf. He now coached children in the age group of 10- 2. “Our vision is to make a new club house in collaboration with Indian golf unit (IGU) So that more people will get employment”, said Deepak Koshti, general manager of the golf course.  

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