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The annual Merchant’s and Banker’s Golf Tournament flags off on February 19

In its 14th edition this time, it is limited to 124 participants, given the pandemic

The driving range at the Tamil Nadu Golf Federation (TNGF) — Cosmo Golf Course is having a busy day. It brims with golfers brushing up their skills last minute. Balls are flying off the tee and if you listen keenly, there is a rhythm to it, almost like a drum beat.

Avid golfers are getting set for the annual Merchant’s and Banker’s Golf Tournament on February 19, hosted by the Rotary Club of Madras and presented by HMA, in association with Omega Healthcare and The Hindu BusinessLine.

The tournament draws nearly 200 participants every year, including some of the country’s top business leaders and industrialists. Each corporate can send two participants per team. The event will follow the stroke play format using the unique ‘double Peoria’ system of handicapping.

“The beauty of this sport is even a beginner can participate as long as they have a valid handicap,” says Hemant Chordia, director, fund raising, Rotary Club Of Madras.

However, in its 14th edition this time, it is limited to 124 participants, given the pandemic. “We have a waitlist now,” says Chordia. The participants come together to support and enhance community building projects undertaken by the Rotary Club of Madras — the third oldest Rotary Club of India, after Calcutta and Bombay.

These include community development, education, vocational training, women empowerment, water and sanitation. “In the last four years, we have built over 2,000 toilets in villages” says Chordia. Last year, they implemented Her Place, restrooms for women in Pondy Bazaar.

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, Rajeev Ranjan will tee off the event at 6 am on Friday. Chordia says that he, along with president, Kapil Chitale, and golf chair Nikhil Raj are ensuring they maintain precautions. Afternoon slots have been provided to 32 players. “The briefing has been over messages and email. The players will know where to tee off from and as they exit, they will hand over their score cards to the organisers,” explains Chordia adding that though the annual gala dinner will be missed this year, the organisers are pleased that they could carry on with the fund-raising event.

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