Kathmandu, Nepal: It was two years ago that Binod Tamang turned up at the Royal Nepal Golf Club [RNGC] seeking work.
Anxious to earn money to assist his mother in paying for his school fees, Binod, then aged 10, offered his services as a caddie.
However, standing barely four-feet tall and weighing in at less than 35 kilograms, his appeal was rejected based on the grounds that he was too small.
Nonetheless, moved by the boy’s spirit and determination, members of the RNGC, led by club captain Tashi Ghale, also the Secretary-General of the Nepal Golf Association [NGA], agreed to assist by paying the US$12 monthly school fees.
A deal was struck whereby Binod was allowed to collect balls at the driving range in the evenings and at weekends on the premise that he went to school in the day. His school reports are frequently monitored by the club.
With word spreading of Binod’s situation among RNGC members, he was also given some playing privileges.
Such was the promise he showed that he was included in The R&A sponsored camps that Australian coach Kim Baldwin has been conducting in Kathmandu since late 2013.
“Binod’s enthusiasm and determination is infectious to the other young players around him. He can’t wait to play his next shot,” said Baldwin, who is based in Singapore.
Playing with a set of clubs donated by The R&A and attired in apparel also provided by the Scotland-based organisation, Binod received advice and instruction and was recorded on Baldwin’s TrackMan.
Lining up against elder and more experienced players, Binod improbably secured a place in last December’s Faldo Series Nepal Championship by finishing runner-up in an under-16 qualifier at RNGC.
In the final off the blue tees at Gokarna Forest Resort, measuring 6,500 yards, Binod performed admirably, recording rounds of 92 and 97 and finishing eighth out of 12.
Baldwin said: “This is a great example of what The R&A’s support can do. Thanks to The R&A, the NGA and RNGC, golf has been able to give this young lad an immeasurable opportunity to improve his life.”
Dominic Wall, Director Asia-Paciﬁc for The R&A, said: “The R&A is committed to encouraging the playing of golf globally.
“In recent years, a great deal of effort has been focused on financing golf development in countries where the game is a relatively new sport. Grass-roots initiatives have been supported in countries as diverse as the Falkland Islands, Cambodia, Nepal and the Cook Islands,
“The aim is simple: to encourage more people to play golf in more places, more often.”
Sir Nick Faldo, a three-time Open champion, said: “My main reason for starting the Faldo Series was to try and give something back to the game that has given me so much.
“This is the time for golf on all levels to be looked at as a truly global sport with global opportunity and possibility. We remain focused on developing the Faldo Series in more countries and introducing the lessons and opportunity of this sport through elite junior amateur competition along with grass roots introduction to golfers on all levels.”
Singapore: This year’s SMBC Singapore Open has been cancelled due to on-going concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the region.