Achal Ghai has always been known as a successful businessman & entrepreneur. However his talents doesn’t end there. He has been a very passionate Golf Player. Everyone knows that if Achal Ghai is not in the office he is in the Golf Course. He has also met with a lot of success in the recent year from winning large tournaments like the Pro-Am. His journey is a encouraging one for any one who are getting started off in Golf. This is how Mr. Achal Ghai answered my questions in connection with Golf.
How did you
get initiated in Golf?
I was Senior Manager at Standard Chartered way back in 1996 and realised that most of the MNC clients of the bank play Golf and that was the relationship driver. So I enrolled myself in the Dubai Creek Golf Academy and start learning Golf. It took over 6 months and it was really too technical a game to pick up and there were times when one wanted to give up. However, after struggling for 6 months, I got the hang of the game and joined the club.
the impact on the move from Dubai to Canada?
Once the Golf Bug bit me and started playing both social and business Golf at the gorgeous Creek course with amazing views of the sunset along Dubai Creek. Surprising, I won a few tournaments in the first year of playing itself and that brought my handicap down to 18 in the second year itself. In 1998, we moved to Vancouver, Canada with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as the Regional Director of Commercial Banking. In 1999, we bought a house on a hilly Golf course in the suburbs-Westwood Plateau. It was a real tough mountain course and that helped me improve my game considerably. I started by loosing an average of 6 balls per round and within a year came down to an average of 2 balls with a handicap of 14 in the year 2000. Vancouver gets 7 months of rain and that experience taught me to play in the rain. I still have my Rain gear including special gloves and the huge Rain umbrella which can cover the ball and allow you to swing under it while it is raining.
In Sept’ 2003,
we moved back to Dubai and then joined the prestigious Emirates Golf Club. That
really helped me reconnect with friends and the Corporate World quickly as if
we never left Dubai. We also bought and moved into a home in Jumeirah Islands
and also eventually set up my main office in Almas, JLT. Now I have the
privilege to stay and work all around the Emirates Golf Club. I can see the
course clearly from my office and I land up playing at least 3-4 times a week
including in the summer heat.
I have won
over 60 club tournaments over the years including the BMW one which took us to
the World Finals in Sydney, Australia and also the Club Championship. I had a
hole in one on the Majlis 11th hole on 7 Sept’2013 and now play at a
handicap of 12.
Mr. Achal Ghai, How did Gold help you during Covid?
Covid times, Golf was the saviour and we played like 5 times a week despite the
hot weather. It also created back issues for me and now I am doing physio
sessions but still playing as much Golf. It is truly a passion and addiction.
I have the
distinction of introducing Golf to at least 25 new Golfers over the years and
of that, 15 have become Club members and regular Golf addicts!!!
hosts the Desert Classic every year and I have had the distinction of playing
the Pro-Am at least 10 times. I have played a number of international Players
and enjoyed the experience. It is such an amazing learning and revitalising
experience which is hard to describe.
is one of the most expensive as well as time consuming sport. What do we all
work for all our lives if we cannot enjoy the fruits of our labour. I would
recommend Golf to all but in the beginning it is a tough journey to learn and
get going. Dubai is among the best Golfing destinations in the world with year
round Golf including night Golf.