Pursuit of Happiness

Putt-ing in style

Golf has inspired TBZ Westend MD, Vijay Zaveri, to take a swing at all odds with a smile

Soumik Kar

It was the beginning of October, and the Oxford Golf Club in Pune was set to witness another round of the Golden Eagles Golf Tournament. The 136-acre club is nestled amid the vastness of the Sahyadris and the freshly pruned grass envelopes the golf course like a plush carpet. The light breeze is enough to send a cold shiver down your spine and it's also an indication that the Rain Gods are soon going to make their presence felt. Within moments, the clouds unite and send out a light drizzle, just enough to drench the participants and the audience.

While some scamper around trying to get hold of an umbrella, some seek shelter under the conical tents ahead. Amidst this chaos, one can hear a caddie instructing, “Hole one se sahib ko pick-up karke doosre hole tak le jaana hai". The golf-cart driver swings into action and within moments Vijay Zaveri, owner, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri (TBZ) Westend is seen taking his position unfazed by the light shower.

It was a matter of sheer luck that Zaveri got hooked on to the game. Back in 2007, a friend gifted the managing director of TBZ Westend a golf set. “I did not know what to do with it, so I had no option but to start using the kit,” recollects Zaveri. His inquisitive nature prompted him to delve into the intricacies of the game and led him to pursue the game actively. “I started practicing it daily and the beauty of the golf course is that people just push you to play better and better every time,” he adds. What started out as a curiosity soon turned into an enjoyable hobby. Zaveri admits that he now ensures he finds time for the sport amid his busy schedule. He plays golf around three to four days a week in the morning, and that allows him to stay rejuvenated all day long.

Zaveri’s fascination for golf extends beyond this customary routine though. He remembers having travelled to countries like Cambodia, Bulgaria and China to explore different golf courses and compete against players of a differing handicap. And that's also the reason he participated in the tournament last year. While he is modest enough to admit that he hasn’t played enough golf professionally, he proudly admits that he won the the runner-up title at another golf tournament in 2015.

While the hard work to understand the nuances of the sport have been rewarding for Zaveri, he counts the learning experience as a priceless one. From patience to perseverance and discipline, Zaveri confides how the game has made him very grounded as a person. “It has taught me to be humble and has motivated me to play better with each round. You may get a good shot, a par or a good bogey in your first hit and in the next moment, you might end up hitting an out-of-bounds. So, this game teaches you to be balanced and fair,” he explains.

And have lessons on the golf course crept into his decision-making process in the boardroom at TBZ? “It has taught me to be aggressive, but with patience. Being fair is the most important thing in golf and even in business,” he avers. “You have to be fair to yourself and to your colleagues." We reluctantly end the conversation and allow the golfer to continue his game; the clouds above still seem to show no sign of mercy. As Zaveri walks ahead towards the awaiting shot, completely drenched, but focused, he turns around to add, “You cannot stop golf mid-way even in times of unsuitable weather conditions; you can only stop playing it when it is life threatening. This is again something golf teaches you - you cannot be a step ahead of nature,” and then he strikes a bogey.