“Where Eagles Dare” – Eagles Golf Links on the Eastern shores of Sri Lanka in picturesque China Bay Trincomalee, constructed and managed by the Sri Lanka Air Force was officially and ceremonially opened by the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa putting on the 9th hole amidst a distinguished gathering of Airmen and Golfers from Colombo. The Sri Lanka Golf Union the governing body of golf in Sri Lanka was also represented to officially welcome the Sri Lanka Air Force Golf Facility to the golfing fraternity.
|Defence Secretary ‘Opens’ the Eagles Golf Links in China
Bay – Trincomalee
An inaugural Golf Tournament was conducted, with about 50 golfers participating who were flown by SLAF commercial flight from Ratmalana Airport on Saturday January 7, with all travel and logistics meticulously executed. The Golf Course itself was remarkable with the environment, ambiance and playing conditions simply out of this world. The creation of the Eagles Golf Links with their motto ‘Where Eagles Dare’ was the brain child of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema.
The tournament was ‘Teed-Off’ by a flight of 4 golfers comprising the Commander and distinguished invitees including a supreme ‘hot air’- commodore (she-ran man-suraya!) who skied the Tee-Shot like a missile into the air unable to clear the Tee-box but managed to scare the spectators and golfers witnessing the official Tee-Off when they had to run for cover! The 1st flight was followed by a ‘fly-by’ of 3 SLAF airplanes to add significance and colour to the occasion which was luckily not hit by the skied missile off the first Tee.
Most international golf courses are usually opened by the golf architect who lends his name (a top professional golfer-world famous) and golfers of repute along with distinguished high ranking officials of the management. However Sri Lanka has done itself proud doing things its’ own way fulfilling a long required need to attract tourists into the Eastern shores of our country which has beaches and natural resources incomparable to the best locations in the world. The SLAF with its’ commercial flights and the brilliant 9 holes golf course can truly contribute and service the influx of ‘Golf Tours’ to promote and realize the nations dream of making Sri Lanka the tourist’s paradise.
The tournament itself was very interesting with special prizes awarded for the most accurate shot at the par three, short 3rd hole, with the Jayakody combination of Sunil and Manouri winning the gentlemen and ladies categories with their shots ending up nearest to the flag. In the contest for the longest drive the architect of the golf course Murad Ismail proved that he is the longest hitter among the men whilst Neesha Nirmalalingam displayed her sweetness in timing and power been a former golf champion and currently the Lady Captain of RCGC to be the longest driving lady. In the overall category conducted over 9 holes under Stableford points system there were many good scores despite the narrow fairways and greens like postage stamps encouraging good golf to be played hitting the ball straight and long. A former Captain of the RCGC Lal Dias won with 19 points on a count back when he tied with Priath Fernando the current Vice Captain of RCGC to become the first winner of the inaugural tournament. There were 3 other scores of 18 points following the leaders tied on 19 points.
Manouri Jayakody also won the ladies event with 16 points in addition to winning the prize for the shot nearest to the flag! The festivities that followed the inaugural golf tournament included lunch by the beach, cocktails and dinner at the Club House (formerly Sea Anglers Club) and entertainment provided by the SLAF lads and ladies who displayed tremendous talent providing scintillating music and mesmerizing dance which was a treat and enjoyment ‘par excellence’!
‘Hats off’ to the SLAF and the Defence Secretary for making a golf course in China Bay Trincomalee a reality, a real ‘dream vacation location’ for the busy tourist and golfer, to un-wind, relax and enjoy the luxurious natural resourceful wealth of Sri Lanka in the East of our country which was long since not enjoyed! The wealth of unexposed talent which could be unearthed and discovered, as is the usual case at any golf course is expected at Eagle Golf Links when many will have the opportunity to work and play on the Golf Course and master the game like many others have done at the RCGC, NEGC and more recently in Victoria. The SLAF ‘men and women’ with their excellent physique, discipline in everything they do and the hunger to succeed are surely champion material in the correct hands for technique and training. The Eagles Golf Links has another opportunity to encourage students in the vicinity and in the Eastern Province to play Golf and develop their skills and personality.
Golf has long been considered a rich man’s game in Sri Lanka, though Golf is an essential sport for development and progress established in developed nations of the world. Therefore ‘golf’ access to Sri Lanka is the road for tourism, success, progress and nation building for Sri Lanka to reach ‘developed nations’ status in the not too distant future. The value addition from Golf is a multiple ingredient for ‘THE MIRACLE OF ASIA’.
Long live Eagle Golf Links!