Will winds of change sweep the Chandigarh Golf Club elections or will the old guard hold ground?
The Chandigarh Golf Club is one of the most prestigious clubs in the city. So it’s no surprise that the battle for the post of President and the executive committee is keenly fought. And the gloves are truly off as the date for the election of the post of president and executive committee inches closer. To be held on April 16, the elections will see 1,800 members of the club vote to choose their next president. This year, there are two men in the race for the post of president. We caught up with the golfers in action off the golfing greens.
Meet the President
Leading what is seen as the ‘old guard’ is Ravibir Singh Grewal, who took on the reins of acting president after the sudden demise of IPS Mann, who was president last year. Grewal, who is a keen golfer and successful entrepreneur, leads a team that is well versed with running the club, as many of the members have been part of previous executive committees. And that’s exactly the grouse of opponent Ravinder Singh Virk, an industrialist, who is leading the second panel comprising of a mix of entrepreneurs, retired army officers and professionals. “We feel that the running of the Club has been in the hands of a select few for too many years. There have been hits and misses when it comes to the functioning of the club and it’s time for a change now,” he says.
Golf, as the popular adage goes, is a gentleman’s game and the two contestants in the fray for the President’s post have been equally gracious in their demeanour towards each other. While Grewal feels his team needs to carry on the “good work” done last year, Virk, who also has had held important roles in Kasauli Club, feels the need for more member-inclusive projects and no “wasteful expenditure.” Looking at past elections and trends in voting, golf club members haven’t always made one panel win outright. The committee has seen equal representation. So it would be interesting to see whether the winds of change will sweep this time or will the old guard hold ground?
Meet their Teams
Team Grewal: Arvind Bajaj, Brar Kulbir Singh, Col Hardev Mann, Capt Mohanbir, Rohit Daggar, Sanjit Singh Bala, Shona A Singh, SPS Matharoo, Col SDS Batth, Zorawar Singh
Team Virk: Alamgir Grewal, Amarinder Aulakh, Ankush Garg, Col AD Singh, Lt Col HS Chahal, Jagdeep Singh, Dr Jaspreet Batth, Parvinder Takkar, Sanjeev Verma, Satwant Sandhu
The Issues and Promises
For many years, the “lease issue” with the Chandigarh Administration has been a sore point, but the previous committee, as Grewal points out, has worked out a resolution. Virk acknowledges the same but promises to help reduce the interest burden on the club if elected.
The most important aspect of any golf club is its course and many committees have spent a lot on its upkeep and renovations. “The course is playing very well and one of the best in the region. We will work to maintain it,” informed Capt Mohanbir of Team Grewal. Virk feels it’s important to make a long term plan for the course and help its upkeep irrespective of who is in-charge. He also feels that more members should get a chance to play in the tournaments. “We need to focus on bringing in more professional tournaments to the club and interest of all members should be prime,” says Virk.
Caddie management and welfare is another area that both the teams want to work on. “We have initiated some welfare plans and will look to make it more inclusive,” remarked Shona A Singh from Team Grewal. She is also the sole woman candidate in the elections.
Also on the agenda for Team Virk is to ensure complete transparency in all major expenses of the club. According to Zorawar Singh from Team Grewal, the finances of the club are healthy and this year they managed to get a refund of Rs 10 lakh from the electricity department and over a lakh and a half from engineering department.
The two teams also promise to work on junior golf programmes. But as Virk points out, “Chandigarh is seen as a nursery for golfers but not much has been done to help junior golfers better their skills and we will work out policies in this regard.”