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"Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta accepting the hiINDiA Golf trophy on behalf of Dr. Yashbir Mehta"
By Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta
It was a classic event put together by some hard working golf fans and well wishers of our Indian community. Weather gods showered their blessings on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, August 10, 2013 at Randall Oaks Golf club in West Dundee, Illinois for seventy golf aficionados who gathered to show their prowess in the game at the inaugural hiINDiA Golf event.
Golfers were greeted to an extremely eager committee who gave a welcome gift that included several souvenirs for the players to take home. All players who registered for the event were given tokens for their lunch and beverages. After making sure that their appetite was satisfied in the morning, most golfers went to the range to sharpen their skills to prepare for the upcoming 18 holes of challenging golf.
Players had a choice between a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian lunch followed by a well-organized eighteen-hole event. Randall Oaks Golf club staff members were extremely helpful to all the players and also provided helpful tips. Players of varying talent were encouraged to participate in this event and the organizers made sure that no golfer was left out. Golf club staff was very accommodating to all the golfers and explained all the PGA rules to competitors. All players played from the blue tee box regardless of their talent level. This was used for all golfers to keep things even during the tournament while respecting the handicap system.
Most golfers who arrived early took advantage of the putting contest in the clubhouse. For an average golfer, it was an extremely difficult 40-foot putt with a big right to left curve. I witnessed several of the putts come up woefully short as many players couldn’t judge the distance. Organizers allowed only one putt per player, so each golfer made sure to give it their best shot. Several of the players read the green correctly but only Pradeep Patel, donning red pants, perfectly read the green and drained the putt for the big prize.
Tee to Green:
Then, came the announcement for the tournament to begin. The entire group of golfers had a tremendous time prior to the tee off to get to know each other and mingle with their friends. It was refreshing to observe the community come together for an event like this. Even though you may not know the gentleman playing in the group ahead of you, there was friendly conversation all around. There were golfers of all different backgrounds who came to enjoy the afternoon activities.
While Jim Furyk and Jason Dufner were on the leaderboard for the PGA championship on day three, some of the golfers in the Indian community were showing their golfing skills at the Randall Oaks Golf club. At this inaugural event, several golfers were on fire trying to make some sort of statement at this golf outing. There were no marquee players from the Indian subcontinent being represented, however, on a perfectly balanced weather day, Randall Oaks Golf club saw some amazing strokes being displayed from birdies to chip-ins. One was hoping for a hole in one at par three holes, but that will have to wait for another hiINDiA golf event.
The Mayor of West Dundee, Mr. Chris Nelson, was very supportive of this event. He expressed gratitude for including West Dundee in this community-enriching event. He thanked the organizers and sponsors and players for continuing West Dundee’s tradition of diversity.
Neil Khot , a business entrepreneur, was very praiseworthy of the mayor of West Dundee for his support for this event. He also thanked all the golfers for giving their best at the event and their spirit of “community togetherness”
Dr. Raj Patel from Sherman Hospital spoke at the event quite eloquently. He was especially thankful of the mayor who came to the event. Dr. Patel has been an avid golf player for several years and he talked about the camaraderie that this event generated and was very supportive of the event.
Longest drive – Chris Tago struck a solid 285 yard drive to split the fairway using his TaylorMade driver.
Closest to the pin – Hiten Patel was the winner
Rotating Trophy for the 2013 year
Dr. Yashbir Mehta wins hiINDiA golf tournament:
Dr. Yashbir Mehta surprised several of the players by shooting a superb round of 78. Rohan Mehta, who was in his foursome, kept on circling par after par on the scorecard and realized that Dr. Yashbir Mehta is truly going to have a terrific round. And, what a round it was. It was an incredible effort to shoot a six over par round on a course that he never played before. Greens were also kind to Dr. Yashbir Mehta as he sunk several long putts as well.
A radiation oncologist by profession, Yashbir plays golf on a regular basis during the summer in Chicago and has displayed his consistency throughout. His driving accuracy was the key for his success at the golf outing. Yashbir had to leave early and did not attend the prize distribution ceremony. On his behalf, Dr. Nilesh Mehta accepted the trophy and thanked the audience and organizers for their yeomen effort. “Oh, my God” was the response from a very excited Yashbir when he heard about the results.
Dr. Rajesh Sharma won the Cobra Hybrid driver for his well-deserved second place for his consistent stroke play. He was especially good for his tee shots that invariably allowed him to be in a good position for his approach to the green.
Third place winner was Ronak Patel and won the wedge set for his consistent golfing efforts at hiINDiA Open.
Raffle draw was an especially interesting part of the program for the participants on the 19th hole that happened to be India House Schaumburg restaurant. Some lucky players who purchased raffle tickets did win and were full of joy displaying their wide smiles on the stage as Virendra Desai announced their names one after another. All players enjoyed a sumptuous meal along with choice of their beverage, while Virendra Desai compered the evening in grand style.
Raffle prizes were given out for several golf prizes including golf bags, gift certificates, putter, golf clubs, golf shoes, and golf shirts amongst other golfing paraphernalia. Virendra Desai’s youthful exuberance was quite evident during the ceremony as he proudly stood at the podium at India House Schaumburg restaurant. “We have been organizing similar events in St. Louis. So, why not one in Chicago?” quipped Mr. Desai, as I had a brief chat with this proud organizer. This collective effort of putting up a well orchestrated event was due to the a team of individuals – Virendra Desai, Dilip B. Patel, Gary Patel, Raju Patel, and Nilesh Patel. Their generosity in their contributions was quite evident as their group donated several prizes.
Hemant Brahmbhatt, owner of hiINDiA was in the audience as well and spoke eloquently by thanking the players and organizers. “Let us do this next year also and have more golfers participate” was his parting remark to the audience. A non-golfer’s involvement through his organization certainly made a splash in the minds of the all the players.