Home Bangalore 18 Holes and a Black Tie Gala

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    When is a charity golf tournament more than just a charity golf tournament? Answer: When the prize is a date with British royalty and a round at Windsor Castle’s private golf course.
    Which is why, for the 88 golfers teeing off tomorrow at Prestige Golfshire for a premium international charity golf event, the Duke of Edinburgh Cup, a win would mean much more than they could imagine. The winning team of two will jet off to England on September 27 on an all-expenses paid trip to play in the World Finals against other participating countries, each supporting a charitable cause. There will be a couple of rounds at the very exclusive Moore Park golf course (where Bond’s Goldfinger was filmed) and finally at Windsor Castle’s own private golf course. Finally, the contingent will attend the gala black tie sit-down dinner on October 1, hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Edward at the Castle. The icing on the cake? The substantial entry fees for the tournament go to charity – Bangalore’s Christel House – which is doing a remarkable job with underprivileged children. “In one go, those who enter will be fulfilling their now-mandatory corporate social responsibility obligations – and also getting an experience that money can’t buy,” says Indur Hirani of Rishi Narain Golf Management, the tournament organisers. No wonder then that in its fourth year, entries are picking up from all over India. Two years ago, Bangalore’s David D’Souza won the Cup, and the memories of his victory and Windsor are still vivid for him.
    I asked Rishi Narain, on a lightning visit to Bangalore, about his own experiences at Windsor. “We stay at the Castle Hotel, across the street from the Castle itself. On the gala night, Prince Edward’s black tie prize giving reception is held in the state ballroom where dinners for heads of state are traditionally held. It’s wonderful: champagne, white-gloved servers, silver service… historic memorabilia everywhere you look. The Prince meets each member from every participating country, shakes their hand and chats with them. The first time we joined the tournament, the chairman of the board of trustees announced at the gala how excited they were to have India among the participating countries for the Cup. Now within a few years, we’re really happy that our own charity collections are on par with the top earning countries that have played for decades.”
    No wonder India’s list of entries includes India’s biggest corporate bigwigs, presidents, CEOs and chairpersons, so contributions are understandably sizeable. Hirani explains, “A standalone charity golf event might yield at best `6 lakhs from 120 golfers. After expenses, you might save `3 lakhs for the charity concerned. By tying up with the Duke of Edinburgh Cup, corporates can donate big, fulfilling their CSR
    obligations and their dreams of rubbing shoulders with royalty, if
    they win.”
    The biggest winners in all this are the children of Christel House. And it says much for the growing power and influence of Indian golf. As Narain puts it, “This has undoubtedly been India’s golden summer in golf… As for the Duke of Edinburgh Cup, we’re sure India’s showing will be even better next year.”
    m firstimpressionbangalore@gmail.com

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