Top golfers in action in Srinagar

Top golfers are participating in the Sher-e-Kashmir Open being played in Srinagar.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Peace in the Kashmir valley was shattered this week with the suicide attack on the assembly building, but life goes on as well. This week marks a new beginning for golf in the valley. The Royal Springs Golf Club in Srinagar is playing host to the Sher-e-Kashmir Open. It's the first time since 1989 that a golf tournament is being held in Kashmir. Top golfers in the country like Jyoti Randhawa and Gaurav Ghei could be spotted teeing off. Till now only local golfers had been able to enjoy the picturesque golf course alongside the Dal Lake. This event marked the offical opening of this 7,000-yard course. The last time such hectic golf activity was seen in Kashmir was when the state hosted the last tournament in 1989 in Gulmarg. And Jyoti Randhawa, son of an Army officer was delighted to be back. "I started playing golf in J&K in Jagrota. I will definitely like to able to play here. I have old memories and really enjoy coming here," said Randhawa. For someone who has travelled all over the world, there wasn't anything as beautiful as this and even the tension in the valley didn't matter. Said Gaurav Ghei, "We have not felt any trouble at all. There is a lot of police but you forget all that when you come to the course and start admiring it. We definitely don't have such a pretty course anywhere in India, in fact it's hard to keep playing and not start looking around." And the organisers are hoping that the golf will help bring in the tourists as well. "Some unfortunate incidents have happened here but we want to show the world what a lovely golf course this is and we want to attract the tourists and receive them in the best manner," remarked the organizer. There's lots to play for as well. The tournament is one of the majors of the Indian tour, with Rs 15 lakh as prize money.