SHILLONG, April 11: One of the oldest, largest and finest natural golf circuits across the world, the Shillong Golf Course in Meghalaya is slowly turning into an eye sore with heaps of plastic bags, jay walkers, sports and merry making enthusiast littering and trampling over the serene greens of the course.
This golf course was established in the year 1898, as a 9-hole golf course and later converted to an 18-hole course in 1924.
Owing to its greenery and scenic beauty, the United States Golf Association and Museum has given it the title of ‘Gleneagles of the East’. The Golf Course has hosted many national and international tournaments and is known to be the golfers favourite. However, with the passage of time the Golf Course is facing the brunt of population explosion, lack of care and unregulated tourist inflow. The areas in an around the course are filled with litter and the grass is unkempt. The sad narrative of the destruction is very well found in the words of the caretaker and manager of the Shillong Golf Course, who has been taking care of the course since a long time now.
“I am saddened by the way things are. People have no respect for the well trimmed grasses as they walk, run and lie down over it,” said the care taker who requested anonymity even as he fumed with anger especially against the picnickers and drunks who contribute more to the mess.
Echoing similar sentiments, the President of the Shillong Golfers Association, AL Hek also expressed concern over the depleting condition of the golf course and said that they have now stopped playing golf owing to the bad condition and little or no response from the board of directors of the Shillong Club and also of the Shillong Golf Course.
Hek maintained that the tourism department had also sanctioned funds for walls to be erected around the area and total support was also extended by the locals of the area, which however never materialized.
The condition of the golf course may be deteriorating, but efforts are still on from concerned individuals and government alike to save it be it by organising cleaning drives or putting up no litter sign boards and now it all remains to be seen whether the public and the Board of Directors will rise up, play their part and do what is best to restore the course to its former glory.