Srinagar, Feb 19: Every day at first light, Bashir Ahmad Pandov, 52, pedals to Royal Spring Golf Course Srinagar.
Crisscrossing through deserted roads, he remains engrossed in thoughts about how to help golfers score big. An experienced caddie, his tips have always helped the golfers to make good in the game.
“We are 150 caddies here. I am the experienced one. I have participated in many championships. It is actually the caddie, who helps a golfer to gain points in a game,” he said.
With an experience of 25 years, Pandov is considered a lucky mascot for professional golfers visiting Kashmir. He is the first choice for every professional or celebrity visiting the valley.
From cricketer Kapil Dev to Ajay Jadeja and from Bollywood actor Govinda to Raj Kumar, everyone has sought his guidance to get the most out of the game.
“Many celebrities including Govinda, Raj Kumar have played golf in Kashmir. I was their caddie. Kapil Dev and Ajay Jadeja are also golf lovers. I helped them to play the game in a very professional manner,” he said.
Pandov said that Jadeja is the best among the lot. “He plays it better compared to other celebrities. There are many others including Raj Kumar who knew how to play golf,” he said.
Pandov said he learnt golf from his father who too worked as a caddie. “I was a kid when I used to visit golf courses with my father Habibullah Pandov. I have learnt the technicalities of the game from him. I can direct the player in a better way to score a winning shot,” he said.
Despite meager salary, it is the love for the game that kept Pandov glued to his profession.
“It’s just love for the game. Otherwise, I earn a meager Rs 6750 per month. For two months I worked at a shop as a salesman and was paid Rs 4,000 per month. I didn’t like it and returned to the golf club. Like any other sport, golf too was hit by Covid and lockdown. The money doesn’t suffice my daily needs, but I can never disassociate myself from the game,” he said.
Golfers, as well as caddies in Royal Spring Golf Course too, admire the dedication and professionalism of Pandov towards the game. “We have seen many caddies becoming golfers. Pandov has a huge experience and every golfer loves to have him as their assistant,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a caddie.