C Sasidhar (MD, Krishnapatnam Port Company) recently hosted the “Golden Eagles Golf Tournament” in Hyderabad. Golf Digest India spoke to him to find out the synergy between his port business and golf.
GDI: What prompted Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited (KPCL) to associate with golf?
After his visit to Japan, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh – Chandrababu Naidu – wanted to develop a Japanese village in the state and that was how the idea to build a golf course was born. Also, as Nellore district has several industries and an integrated business centre like Sri City, we had several requests from industrialists for a golf course. More importantly, we wanted our port to match global standards in terms of clean air, environment, greenery and sea- linked sporting activity. Krishnapatnam Port has a beautiful sea and is a great location for a clean and green golf course. Since our plans are to have a cruise terminal at Krishnapatnam in future, golf as a sport next to a port is a great business proposition and tourist attraction.
GDI: When did you start playing golf?
My association with the game started around four and half years ago and was inspired by close friends of mine. It was their love and passion for the game that showed me the real potential of golf. This revelation, coupled with the advice from some senior players, prompted me to explore the game deeper. I improved with each game and within eight to ten months I had a handicap of 18.
GDI: How does hosting a high- profile event like the Golden Eagles help?
Every golf course normally holds tournaments and since we are developing a links style golf course at our port, we could garner recognition for it through the Golden Eagles Golf Championship. As golf courses do not advertise, such tournaments help in bringing people together, strengthening the camaraderie among the fraternity and making people aware of both –Golden Eagles Championship as well as the CVR Links. So, Golden Eagles is primarily a brand that we are building even before the CVR Golf Links will be entirely developed and the nearby social projects will be ready.
GDI: Tell us about the synergy between the planned golf course – CVR Links and port business.
Golf, besides being a popular sport, is also a passionate and indulging game, which enables us to build rapport and camaraderie with trade and business partners in the long term. As we are close and connected to the main Asian markets such as Singapore, China and Korea, which are great golfing nations, it was one of the major reasons for us to start a golf course. We are also looking at building a nice resort at the golf course and are talking to a few global brands for developing it. We want people to play golf, enjoy water sports and go back rejuvenated and relaxed.
GDI: What type of course is envisaged and what is the status of construction?
We are working towards completing the 18-hole links course with renowned architects. As of now, we are ready with 16 holes in our par 3 academy course.
GDI: Which is your favourite golf course in India and abroad?
In India, the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon, is my favourite. Abroad, the Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus is extremely appealing for the beautiful weather, location and golfing experience it offers.
GDI: Tell us about Sharmila Nicollet as your brand ambassador?
Sharmila’s passion for golf is evident when playing or interacting with her. She is our country’s premier lady golfer, having more than 12 professional wins and her achievements at a young age speak volumes of her love and passion for the sport. Her growth has a strong resemblance to Krishnapatnam Port, which also rose as one of the youngest new-age ports in a short span of eight years.
GDI: What are your future plans of Krishnapatnam Port?
We have a vision for Krishnapatnam Port to evolve as India’s largest gateway on the East Coast and the port of choice owing to its world-class infrastructure, operational efficiency, excellent hinterland connectivity, unrivaled customer service and focus on eco-friendly growth. The planned port capacity is of 200-250 million tonnes and the container terminal capacity of 2.5 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) is the largest in the country. The port has planned and built one of the longest break- waters in the country, of about 2 km, to allow a 500-meter ship with a draft of 24 meters and 4 lakh tonnes. No Indian port has this facility till now.