AK. Karma Lakelands, Gurugram and Jacks Point in Queenstown, New Zealand.
GII. Which particular country you rate as the ultimate Golfing destination? Why?
AK. Thailand because it’s a country and culture fine-tuned to respect, warmth and hospitality. Golf feels like their national sport and there is abundance of golf courses including stand-alone driving ranges.
GII. For how long have you been playing Golf and what initiated you into this game?
AK. Started playing in 2004 after owning a golf set for Ten years and a finished golf course for a year. I took to this sport since this was going to be my work cum future passion & I believe in the right mix of business with pleasure. Where else could one find such beautiful landscapes to explore & that too with a purpose !!
GII. Describe a day in the life of Ashwani Khurana.
AK. My day starts early at around 6 am with Yoga & Meditation. At 7, I join the family, staff & house guests in our daily morning prayer ritual followed by spending time with my mother who is starting to get old but thankfully still vibrant. Breakfast is late as the next meal is an early dinner. Post breakfast, I take a walk through my gardens, feed the fish in the pond & interact with the farm animals…. Cows, goats, ducks & chickens, check out the composting yards & the kitchen gardens as well as the orchard. Late morning till afternoon goes into attending to new challenges at work and then golfing in the afternoon. Evenings are for family time, Swimming or Tango dancing. Most evenings are early & at home. I am an early bird when it comes to calling it a day or retracting from social events.
GII. What fascinates you the most about the game of Golf?
AK. It is very similar to the game of life, never certain, keeps you sometimes humbled & sometimes exhilarated, much engrossed, on ground and down to earth. Most importantly, one gets to walk in Nature amongst trees & the great landscapes created by man.
GII. Your favorite Holiday Destination.
AK. Used to be Goa till I discovered that the green waste & garbage burning has spoilt the air quality there. I have now declared myself as a global citizen & my preferred place is wherever the air quality is great and weather is mostly conducive for golfing through the year.
GII. Favorite 19th Hole Drink.
AK. The Karma Signature Drink at Karma Lakelands is perfectly healthy & refreshing. It is made of Karma honey (from our very own apiary) with the juice of home grown Chinese oranges (Kumquats) & mint.
GII. Favorite Quote.
AK. Love of the self is the greatest romance on Earth.
GII. What are the challenges being faced by Golf Industry in India?
AK. There is an acute shortage of civilian golf courses in our cities hence access is restricted. Golf equipment also sounds expensive. Long referred to as an elitist game, Golf carries with it many upper-class and exclusive connotations leading to hostile govt policies that make the game & its equipment get into the deterrent pricing zone. Access to the golf courses is like the forbidden fruit. The awareness towards water conservation, recycling & rain water harvesting is an important issue to which most golf superintendents need further sensitization along with the harms of over irrigation. We are sitting at the verge of grave water scarcities & enforcement of laws that would no longer allow the use of fresh ground water for irrigation.
GII. What is the potential for Golf Development and Tourism at the state level and how can India attract more Golf Tourists?
AK. Golf has a lot of potential; it is getting increasingly popular amongst the youth. There has also been a lot of interest from many State Governments to develop more Golf courses and upgrade the facilities. Since we have some very beautiful Golf courses in the hills and North-East, these can be used in making India a year-round destination.
GII. How do we grow the numbers of Golfers in India?
AK. Golf in India finds itself in the rough at the grassroots level as accessibility to the game remains the biggest roadblock for most existing and aspiring Golfers. To promote golf culture and attract tourists, many more golf courses are required in the country. It will not only help attract tourists but also generate revenue for the state and open new job opportunities for the youth. Govt. of India will have to support by sponsoring the tournaments, they will have to be shown on media so that more and more people get interested.
It is high time when govt & private enterprises start setting up stand alone driving ranges to grow interest amongst the masses in this sport.
Govt policy should encompass this as any other sport rather than taxing it to death. We need to understand that a 9 hole golf course makes enough oxygen for more than 60k people to breathe.
GII. Your thoughts on doing business on the Golf Course?
AK. I play the game for the fun of being in nature and playing to the best of my ability. Unlike most golfers, I mostly do not have a fixed group or time for my play. This opens up the opportunity of making it a larger world with so many people to know, have fun with & possibly do business with. It often allows me “me time” when I get to play alone while not feeling lonely. My learning is that we have to allow business to happen rather than “doing” it or playing for the purpose of it.
GII. Do you use any Golf apps on your phone? If yes, which is your favorite?
AK. Garmin Watch works wonderful for me in showing distances.