K. Nandasena Perera born 29th August 1954, in Bandaranaikepura, Rajagiriya, a stones’ throw from the Royal Colombo Golf Club, was a ‘Sportsman Par-excellence’ in every sense of the word. Nandasena had a tough childhood without the basic needs of a child from a less fortunate background, having to forfeit schooling at an early age to [...]


Local genius golfer Nandasena Perera moves on…


K. Nandasena Perera born 29th August 1954, in Bandaranaikepura, Rajagiriya, a stones’ throw from the Royal Colombo Golf Club, was a ‘Sportsman Par-excellence’ in every sense of the word.

Nandasena had a tough childhood without the basic needs of a child from a less fortunate background, having to forfeit schooling at an early age to earn a buck and help his father and mother to provide for the family including his siblings. Circumstances made Nande an early drop-out from School and a ‘ball-boy’ and Caddy whilst still a junior. In the early days of Nandasena’s youth his first love was sport, and first sport he loved was football.  However, Nandasena’s initial success in sport came as an athlete – 5000 meter marathon runner, winning the village ‘Avurudhu Race’ year on year.

Nandasena was a front runner in the Bandaranaikepura football team and latterly he was the Coach, with his intrinsic talent and natural ability. Nandasena working at the RCGC gradually became a Caddy and the ‘genius’ in Nandasena sprouted wings. The uniqueness of Nandasena’s capacity is the fact that he climbed a fruit tree at 15 years, fell to the ground and broke his left arm at the elbow and the elbow was set incorrectly, prohibiting the full extension of his left hand. Nonetheless, Nandasena’s outstanding mental strength, exuding talent and natural genius, even the incorrectly set left arm was turned to positive and the magical touch round the greens, the capability to sink putts at will, the sheer brilliance out of any Bunker simply mesmerized all and sundry! Nande’s long game was second to none, utterly accurate off the Tee and length belied his slight build and small stature.

Nandasena burst in to prominence in 1983 when he fired an eight under par 63 in the RCGC Open 3rd Round to establish a new RCGC Course record which stood since 20th July 1975. Renowned magnate and extremely talented sportsman in his young days, Mr. Sohli Captain established the RCGC Course record of 67, playing the Victoria Cup, the best individual Gross Trophy at the Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship in 1975. It took eight years to be overhauled and re-written by Nandasena Perera.

The victories of Nandasena locally and internationally are countless, the trophies in his Trophy cabinet are priceless, as they depict sensational victories, crafted by sheer genius and brilliance on the Golf Course. Nandasena’s incredible ability to manufacture shots, from unplayable positions was the real magic and genius of the man. Nandasena played in the Singapore Open at the Bukhit Tima Golf Course in 1983, his first international match, after the sensational victory in the RCGC Open, in which he established the new RCGC Course record too.

The Mercedes Benz E320 brand new Model was launched at the Singapore Open, offered as the ‘Hole-in-One’ prize at the Par 3, 5th Hole. In the second round of the Tournament, Nande’s Tee shot pitched inches off the hole, hit the flag stick on the first bounce and stayed out by the barest distance of half an inch!!!

Nandasena made the cut-off in a competitive Asian field and in the 3rd round played the most amazing shot in a dog-leg Par 4, trapped among the trees, Nandasena  hit a low 2 iron, 180 yards plus, below the radar of the branches lined along the ball path, to 3 feet from the hole and sank the birdie putt!

Nandasena was a simple, man with great qualities of humility and he won the hearts and admiration of all the top Golfers who came his way. Nandasena’s unique genius on the golf course caused the top Singaporeans, and many others in the Asian region to come to Sri Lanka and participate in the Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship, which he won in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Probably, the greatest achievement of Nandasena Perera as an Amateur was the silver medal he won at the Beijing Asian Games 1990 in China. The exemplary story of the Beijing Games speaks volumes of the Man. After 4 rounds of golf, Nandasena Perera was tied with Maruyama of Japan and in the sudden-death play-off, Maruyama pushed his drive to the rough whilst Nandasena was in the middle of the Fairway. In accordance with the rules of golf the search time for a lost ball is 5 minutes and after 3 minutes the ball was not to be found. Nandasena instinctively walked in to the rough, and found the ball before the search time was elapsed.

As a great sportsman Nandasena found his opponents ball and Maruyama holed out rom off the green to Birdie the sudden death hole and win the Gold Medal for Japan. Maruyama, played the Japanese Tour and went on to the world stage, ranked in the top five in the world, whilst Nandasena sat in a hospital bed getting treatment  for his knees and a chronic arthritis condition aggravated by the cold weather.

Nandasena Perera was gifted the deed to a 10 perch block of land, adjacent to the 13th Hole at the RCGC, by the Late Hon. Ranasinghe Premadasa. The RCGC members contributed and completed the house. The RCGC bestowed Associate Membership on Nandasena Perera which he used with great responsibility and respect. The President and State honoured Nandasena with the status of Deshabandu for his outstanding achievements in Golf bringing credit and glory to Sri Lanka.

Nandasena Perera, played smart, he had amazing talent and he practiced difficult trick shots and the secret to his success was the extreme confidence he gained with practice to get himself out of any trouble or difficult positions. His recovery shots were graceful unorthodox and manufactured purely by Nandasena Perera. His ability to nominate and say with confidence that he will ‘Hole a putt or a chip’ and successfully do so every time can only be classified simply as Genius Golfer. His physical constraints especially due to Arthritis and the knees were affected only in cold climates and once the sun is on his back Nande was basically unbeatable.

Nandasena was fondly referred to as “God” for his sheer brilliance and his exceptional Bunker play in the All India Championship, which earned him the name ‘Sandy Perera’.

In Singapore and even in India players and fans would want to check Nandasena’s hands as his shots are simply Magical.

Nandasena Perera moves on at the age of 64+, leaving behind a magical legacy and pleasant memories of a genius golfer who walked our path, none of it to ever return, but etched in the mind of those fortunate few who witnessed his magic and genius on the Golf Course. Nandasena’s work ethics are incomparable, practice putting before sunrise at the early hours of the morning, daily practice of all shots, early to bed to get the essential deep sleep, simple swing routine, love the Golf Course – He says and the Course will love you back. Simply translated Nandasena demands, that as a player the divot should be replaced and earth put on for the grass to heal and grow again.

Nandasena disciplined and coached his son Mithun Perera from an early age and after a highly successful Amateur Career at the Royal Colombo Golf Club, Mithun is a multiple winner on the PGTI.

Nandasena’s legacy continues, but sadly we will not see his quiet but firm demeanour again. He leaves behind his loving wife Ranjani, eldest daughter Nithini a Medical Doctor, Mithun his only son a Professional Golfer on the PGTI and Asian Pro Tour and his youngest daughter Michiko an undergraduate in Archaeology at the University of Colombo.

May Nandasena Perera’s soul Rest in Peace and attain the sovereign bliss of Nibbana as he believed in the simple life style he endured, despite the great success he was as an exemplary Sportsman who excelled in the game of Golf, touted as a rich man’s game in Sri Lanka.

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