West Bengal or Bust!


I do not like to cut trees, but if I do not, it will be difficult for me to even breathe. I live golf in every day.

High in the hills of West Bengal, India, there is a village full of passionate golfers, young and old alike.

After long hours working as pickers in the tea plantations, the adults clutch one or two clubs each, their prized possessions, and head off to golf at the Chalsa Polo Club. While most have a handicap, they think it could be improved if anyone in the village had a wedge to use.

Their children caddy for tourists who visit the region to golf and they too are devoted to the game.

They may well be as passionate about golf as I am, if not more so. They are that keen, these children whittle wooden clubs using timber collected from the nearby forest. They don't like to do it however, because they're concerned for the environment.

the Chalsa kids making their own wooden clubs

We were made aware of these fervent golfers during a Twitter #GolfChat, by Matty Du Plessis, and as soon as I finished watching the Youtube video, made by producer Danny Mamik, I emailed him immediately. If you haven't seen the video, do yourself a favour. It is inspirational.

 

That was back in June, eight weeks after I first had the initial concept for Fairways and while we were still setting up the operational aspects of the entity. Even so, I felt I had to do something to help develop these fellow golfing devotees.

Fairways sponsors disadvantaged kids who love golf. They don't need to be talented, they just need to love the game. These kids qualify.

The kids we've sponsored so far have had membership, lessons and practice paid for, but at the Chalsa Polo Club, constructs like membership and green fees don't exist. The nearest golf professionals are 600 kilometres (370 miles) away in Kolkata. The kids of Chalsa practice by playing the course during the day when their parents are at work.

After some thought and discussion with Danny, we decided the best way to help these dedicated youngsters, was to fly a pro in for monthly coaching clinics... and guess what? I'll be there too!

I'll be flying to West Bengal to meet Danny, the pro and the kids, for the first three day clinic. I'll be helping the pro, playing with the kids and assisting Danny to make another movie. What an adventure!

tiger_woods_of_bengal_fairways

As with any philanthropic activity, it will cost money. While I have paid for the Canadian cadets myself through my waitressing job and through small fundraising golf days, the $3,000 USD needed for this project is a bit beyond my tip jar.

So I am seeking help to sponsor the development of these kids. Firstly we want to improve their golf skills, then when they're ready, some industry work skills. Wouldn't it be unbelievable if they could build a little golfing economy for themselves and their village, away from their current destiny under the hot sun of the tea plantation?

Please help us by making a donation, and I also ask if you could share this story with your network on social media to help us achieve this goal.

I look forward to visiting India and golfing with Fairways' newest cadets! 

Please also follow us on Facebook to keep updated of our global golfing adventures dedicated to disadvantaged junior golfers.

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