Major General Enayet Ullah, the Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Golf Federation, was tasked with the responsibility of getting the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open run smoothly. From getting the sponsors on board to having the title of the tournament approved and then getting the course and other facilities in order was a big challenge. They had little time in arranging everything, yet Mr. Enayet Ullah and the others at the BGF and Kurmitola Golf Club were able to successfully host the event without a single incident. Here he spoke about the preparations and planning behind this mega event.
What was the main challenge in hosting the fifth Asian Tour in Bangladesh?
This was the fifth time Bangladesh hosted an Asian Tour event. Organising such a mega event is the biggest challenge for the organising committee of the Bangladesh Golf Federation. We got very little time to prepare for the event. We wanted to have the name of the father of the nation on the tournament, for which we had to undergo a lengthy process. We are thankful to the honourable Prime Minister for allowing this tournament to be named after her father. We are also thankful to the president of the BGF who has worked very hard to get this tournament on. Since the time was very short, we had to hurry it up with the Asian Tour authorities, who had few formalities to complete such as getting the visa procedure done for the golfers and officials from other countries. There were other formalities that needed to be done by the Asian Tour and the BGF. So what we did was develop a mechanism through which we could work simultaneously.
What was your expectation from the event?
Whenever there is an event organised in the name of Bangabandhu, people get inspired. That was the intention because we wanted to take golf to every citizen and to take the tournament to the outside world. The event itself is gigantic. The sponsors had also the desire that the tournament would be organised in such a way that they can take pride. Most importantly Bangladesh has just completed 48 years of independence. So we wanted this to be the beginning of a sequence which we could follow up to the 50th anniversary of our independence.
Since it was held in early April, weather must have been a concern.
Weather is always a challenge, but it’s very difficult to fight with nature. On the night of 31st March, we had a tremendous setback in the form of a thunderstorm. People had worked hard in preparing the venue and the course and it got damaged in that storm. Lot of big trees fell everywhere. But the players were satisfied with the condition of the course on the eve of the tournament. The Asian Tour authority was also satisfied. I thank the groundsmen and everyone else for bringing things back in order.
How delighted were you with getting National Bank as sponsors?
National Bank is a very renowned frontline bank in Bangladesh. It’s good to see them come forward for the first time. Mr. Ron Shikder and Mr. Rick Shikder, the directors of the bank, have committed that they will be with golf and sponsor next year as well. They did not only sponsor the event, they also brought Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt and Bangladesh cricket team’s former coach Gordon Greenidge to highlight this event.
How is the government helping promote the game?
Government is helping, hence we were able to organise an event on the name of the father of the nation. It was a lengthy process, but we are thankful to the Prime Minister and the president of BGF for getting the name of the tournament approved from the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust.
What was the speciality of the tournament this time?
It has successfully attracted the attention of Bangladeshi people. When the name of Bangabandhu is mentioned, people do give more notice and in that way they would come to golf and pay attention to what is happening in the tournament. We are trying to get golf close to people.
What should the spectators remember when they come to watch an international event like this?
These tournaments are for everybody. Anyone can come and witness the game, especially the members and their children. We have no restrictions, but we do have space limitation. We don’t want to disturb the professionals playing their game. But otherwise everyone is welcome.
Is there any general guideline for the media?
We have already seen tremendous effort from the media, both print and electronic, to promote golfing events. Media is successfully taking the message across to the mass population.
What is your plan regarding golf?
My plan is always look forward and do something better for golf. My primary focus is on the course because as long as we keep the course functional, more people will be interested to come and play golf. I think we are successful given the feedback from the Asian Tour authority as well as the professionals from the foreign countries. They have praised the standard of the course; the speed of the green is very much acceptable. The other facilities that we have are conducive for them. This is the success of our hard work. My intention is to keep going and develop every day. If the golfers are comfortable with the facilities, they will play better and if they play better, the country’s standard will go higher and higher. I would like to draw more members to this club and the federation so that they can contribute to golf.