It is 5:30 a.m. in the morning. The sun hasn’t risen quite yet. Its rays are playing peekaboo with the clouds of which a few manage to filter through, illuminating the vast golf course swathed in hues of green with a thin sheet of white dew over it. The serenity in the air is tangible; probably the only time one can hear birds chirping over horns in Bangalore, a city infamous for its traffic. It is this ethereal scene that draws Partha DeSarkar, CEO, Hinduja Global Solutions, to the golf course time and again. “Call us crazy, but we - myself and my team, wake up at 4 in the morning and hit the course at 5:30 a.m while the rest of the city is fast asleep. The ambience just transports me to a different world, “ says the golf enthusiast who has been pursuing the game since 2007.
It all started when a very important client invited DeSarkar to watch a game of golf with him. This was the esteemed Augusta Masters which is held annually every year in Georgia. “I hadn’t played the game before and didn’t have a clue about the game. But the client was a significant one and we were in our early days. So I agreed to go along just to please him,” recollects DeSarkar. Even though he went to the game without any expectation, he was floored by the sport right from the first moment. “I fell in love with the pristine course and afterwards decided to take up the sport seriously,” he shares. Interestingly, it was the same client who helped him choose his first set of golf clubs.
Except for the rare times DeSarkar golfs during travel, weekends are golf time for the businessman who is a member of a few clubs in Bangalore including the Karnataka Golf Association. “The thing I love about golf is that there is no direct opponent. You play against yourself and the aim is to improve your skills. The ball can lie in water, or sand or amidst dry leaves, it can even get lost. It is about how you deal with unknown circumstances, adversity and constantly attempt to improve yourself,” he says.
Given his hectic schedule, for DeSarkar, it is like hitting two birds with one stone, as a lot of work gets done over golf. “When you spend at least 5 hours on the course with a captive audience like a client or a business partner, a lot of deals are done, relationships get built, friends are made,” he says. In fact, his company also takes its clients to tournaments like the Ryder Cup and Augusta Masters where they get to tee with the pros before the main event. Notably, his company has golfer Anirban Lahiri as its brand ambassador.
Nevertheless, it is not all shop talk says DeSarkar. He has had his share of lighter moments too. “The courses in India, in its swampy stretches tend to have snakes. Once when we were playing, the ball got stuck in such a place. When my friend went to get the ball, a snake hissed at him giving him a fright. All of us had such a hearty laugh later,“ he narrates.
Apart from playing with his friends and clients, he also participates in corporate tournaments once or twice a year such as the Vodafone Tee Walk and that of Bangalore Chamber of Commerce. When quizzed about his future plans for the hobby, he says he just wants to play better. “I am just an average golfer now. In the handicap system which enables players with different abilities to compete on an equitable basis, I am currently just above 20, but I would like to move up between 15-20,“ says DeSarkar as he tees off.