Hilarious Golf Set Story

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A gift that can make you Happy for whole life.


By Maj Gen Anil Sengar

About three years from now, a lady cadet on passing out from NDA will be presented a Golf Set by Major General Rajendra Singh Yadav from the iconic 'Veer Bhogya Vasundhara' Regiment, the Rajputana Rifles - NAAM HEE KAAFI HAI

Stories of Golf outside the golf courses keep amazing me. Here is one.

Rewind four and a half decades. 

In the year of the Lord 1975, a golf set was bought by one Col Yadav for Rs 650 from a foreign diplomat who was shedding his baggage on posting back. The set remained deployed in the FUP (Forward Assembly Area) from one station to another and did not cross the Start Line for a decade plus. In the meantime, his son had become a distinguished Infantry officer, senior enough to be seen with a golf set (and eager to join the Privileged Class of Golfers!).
He told his Dad, that you do not use the set and offered to use it. Like all good Dads, he told him go ahead son, burn the course and may you send shivers down the spine of PGA champions - all yours.

An infantry officer, he kept lugging the set from one station to another, only taking envious glances towards the green courses, and remaining content with his tiring and sweaty game of Squash, which he was really good at. Hearing all the crafty and classy terminologies, phraseology and gossip of the courses, he often wondered whether playing Golf was still essential to add to his Gentleman-liness (as if NDA and IMA were not enough), and whether abiding by Golf Rules and Mannerisms could only exhibit his character and values!!

Anyway, once nominated for DSSC, the Greens of Wellington fired his imagination once again. Out came the golf set from the gunny packing – the rubber Grips of the Clubs which had got cracked (due to lack of air and sunlight - they too have a life), were quickly replaced for Rs 2500, four times the cost of the set. However, at Wellington too the Scudders' Medal took the better of golf, and only Shashi, his wife, could swing the clubs on few occasions under the watchful eyes of the coach. Life got very busy thereafter – AE, command of RR Unit, HC, MO, et el.
However, his eyes lit up again when he was called for an interview for a DA's tenure which may give him leisure time for golf – but alas, the destination was Saudi Arabia with no blade of grass. So from the deserts to high altitude, this set could easily be the most 'wildly' travelled set without a date with the ball. Almost two decades had passed, the same duration which it took Shah Jahan to build the Taj Mahal and Dasrath Manjhi to cut a road single-handed through a massive hill, the set awaited a date on the course.

Within days of his reaching Amritsar as a GOC, he was invited to be the Patron of the Course. Now that he was a General and a Patron, he needed to play Golf, how else would he feel like a General and how else will others know that he is a General unless he was seen on the golf course with stars on the hat (pun definitely intended!). However, here too the General scored a 'Duck' as regards his visit to the golf course, but definitely walked out with 'Life Time Membership' of the course as per traditions.

Just to digress, my guess is Generals have two dozen golf caps and hats, very few bought. The MS Branch gave yet another opportunity to the General by posting him to the Army War College, Mhow as his last assignment before hanging his boots, to try his hand at golf - but his penchant for training, running PPT and playing squash with potential Commanding Officers of the Indian Army took the better of him yet again – displaying Macho-ism in fading years was probably more appealing!

Soon, like the mightiest of Generals, he also joined the ranks of 'fused bulbs' and retired. But the enthusiasm to send the balls flying one day never left the Bucket List, and he managed to obtain the membership of AEPTA (Golf Course at Dhaula Kuan, Delhi) a week before his superannuation. After settling down in his abode at Gurgaon, he headed for the course – first step was a new Golf Bag (of a General's status) and a pair of Golf Shoes – Rs 10,000, hardly a cost for a new vice! Next was meeting with Mange Ram, the famous coach, to fix up the schedule of coaching.

Come D Day - at the practice range, this conversation ensued:

"Is this is your set?" asked the coach. "Yes," replied Rajendra, the proud owner, pride coming from the new Golf Bag and shining Clubs (polished a day prior) for a set bought in 1975, manufactured possibly in the early 70s.
"Why are you asking me, you think I have borrowed this?" "No, I am asking because it is a Ladies Set."

Two balls dropped at that very moment, one was a golf ball in his hand. That indeed was a revelation. "What do you mean, ladies set? You mean the ladies sets are different from men's set?" asked Rajendra. 
"Yes, they are different," replied the coach. "Why should they be different, it is the same thing?" said Rajendra. 

It appeared that the coach was wondering whether to continue or cancel his coaching contract with him.

Now, the male ego came in the way. How can a General of the famous Rajputana Rifles, with the legacy of warrior Rajput Kings of Rajasthan play with a Ladies Set? As always, behind every confused golfer is a woman. The lady volunteered to jump in defence of her husband and offered to use the set that had waited for four decades. However, after some attempts, and the Corona / Omicron fears taken the better of 2020 – 21, the set again has gone into a hiding.

The times had changed. In the Flag Staff House, the set had a room to itself and was losing weight as a result of the weekly spit and polish of the army buddy. Now in a flat in Gurgaon, the space management confronted the mighty General of the Indian Army, who had collected all kinds of mementoes from his four decades service. The cooking utensils took priority over his hard-earned mementoes for space. In such a competing environment, the golf set was the first to come into the cross wire and I guess, it had something to do with gender bias, it was a ladies set in a Rajputana kingdom. Loyalty is a great military virtue. The set has tagged along for 47 long years and is counting, and deserves to go down with full military honours, like some Buddy or a PA lands up with a COAS Commendation Card for their long loyalty, while others have to wait for Galwan to happen!!

Possibly, this most underutilized set in history, like some of the re-employed officers, it could not be buried in the kitchen garden, as some mementoes do. It is destined to continue its legacy, till the Last Round - Last Breath. So, my friend Rajendra, who himself is the Bronze Medalist of the 55th Course, has come up with a novel idea. Now that the NDA will become a trans gender (beech ka) institution, he has decided to present the set to the Lady Cadet of the first ladies passing out course who passes out highest in order of merit. And, my friends, do not be surprised, she could be the Gold Medalist, for all you know.
Rightly said, you can take a cadet out of NDA, but you cannot take the NDA out of him.

When this happens, the set too would be celebrating SILVER JUBILEE of its existence with him, GOLDEN JUBILEE of the family ownership and given a fresh lease of life with its new Owner for a much longer existence on the mother earth. The proud lady owner, will keep it for ever, for it will be a hard earned honour by the iconic lady cadet of the first Lady Passing Out cadet in 2025.

This is published with the permission of the proud owner of the set.

My last story on the Golf set was related to KK Arun and Badal Verma, whose set remains in the polythene packing for the thirteenth year running. There is some commonality with this story. Both KK Arun and Rajendra Yadav were instructors in Commando Wing TOGETHER (or TO-GET-HER!!). I am not surprised.

Just proves my belief mentioned in my book 'Golf and Life, The Past is in Your Head and the Future is in Your Hands' published in Jan 22 that there is more to Golf than Golf and less to worry , fret and fume in life than we do. Cheers happy Golfing

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