Thursday, February 12, 2015

Humor in Uniform - THE GOLF LADDER

Humor in Uniform

A Spoof

Last evening, I was sitting at my club with one of my classmates who is now a successful entrepreneur (aka Businessman or Industrialist).

I was surprised to hear that he had visited our club (a defence services institute) on many occasions – in fact, he was quite familiar with the club as he seemed to have visited the place more often than I had.

“I come here quite often to play golf, he said.

“You play golf?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes – I play golf on weekends – in fact, nowadays I try to play on weekday afternoons too,” he said.

“I never saw you play any sports when we were in college,” I said, “we all used to regularly play football, hockey, basketball, volleyball etc – but we never saw you on the playing fields – you spent most of your time lazing and sleeping in your hostel room.

“I picked up golf only a few years ago when I realised that playing golf is a must from the business point of view – of course, golf is a good relaxing game – but that main reason many of us play golf is for the networking – it is easy to meet all the top people at the golf course – some bigwigs who it is impossible to meet in office,” he said.


“In fact, I meet so many of your serving and retired ‘fauji’ top brass at the golf course. How do you think I visit here so often? Your ‘faujis’ – especially the retired guys – they want to play at our golf courses – so they reciprocate and call us here once in a while,” he said.

This conversation reminded me of my navy days.

Those days there were two types of sports prevalent in the Navy:

1. Egalitarian Sports like Football, Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, Water Polo etc which were team games in which officers and sailors played together. These sports were played on the playing fields which were accessible to all.

2. Elitist Sports which were played only by officers – like Squash, Tennis, Badminton, etc  and, of course, the most elite sport of all – GOLF. These sports were available in the Officers Mess and Officers Institutes which were not accessible to sailors. 

Some sailors did manage to play badminton and tennis as facilities were created for them at a few places.

But I have never seen a sailor playing golf – as it was not possible for a sailor to play golf since all the golf courses were attached to officers clubs which were out of bounds for sailors.

In fact, even as far as these elite sports” were concerned – court games like squash, tennis and badminton were more popular with junior officers – while Golf was mostly the preserve of senior officers, with the odd ambitious junior officer trying to gain entry into the crème de la crème golf community.

Just like my civilian entrepreneur friend spoke of “golf networking” for enhancing business prospects – in the defence services too – “golf networking” ensured that “fauji” golfers certainly had an edge over their non-golfer “fauji” colleagues as far as career prospects were concerned.

That is why it is no surprise that most of the “top brass” in the services are golfers.

It would be interesting to do a statistical analysis of the “golfer” versus “non-golfer” Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals.

We called it the “golf ladder”.

Of course, there were a few “non-golfer” exceptions who made it to the top purely on professional merit without resorting to the “golf ladder”.

I am reminded of a hilarious story which happened around 25 years ago in Vizag.

A distinguished Admiral – who later became the Navy Chief  the only Navy Chief from the Submarine Branch – took over as FOCinC (East).

As is customary on taking over command, the new CinC (East) addressed all officers of the command.

He began his speech with these opening words: I dont play golf.

Soon, most of the avid golfers were seen taking evening walks  or got active on the tennis courts  both of which the CinC enjoyed every evening.

Of course, there were some genuine golfers as well – who continued playing their golf with the same passion as before.

But one thing is certain – if you want to get into the elite “inner circles” – there is no game better than golf.

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1. This story is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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