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GOLF COURSES IN INDIA

In India you can play golf almost anywhere, for this sport is widely played by a cross-section of people. In the hills and high Himalayan vastness, in metropolitan cities and in small towns, by lakes and forests, or surrounded by tea estates, out in the deserts and in old cantonment...the flavour of India is visible everywhere.

India was the first country outside Great Britain to take up the game of golf. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, established in 1829, is the oldest golf club in India and the first outside Great Britain. Because of the British rule, the eighteenth century saw a mushrooming of new golf clubs in India. The founding of the Royal Golf Club of Calcutta in 1829 was followed by the now-defunct Royal Bombay Golf Club in 1842 and the Bangalore Golf Club in 1876. The Shillong Golf Club incorporated a golf course in 1886.

Golf has already been played in India for 59 years before the first major course was opened in the USA and Europe in 1888. By the end of the 19th century, India had a dozen golf clubs. What makes golfing in India exciting is the diversity of its courses. Not only does it have the oldest gold club in the world outside Great Britain, but also the highest, at Gulmarg (altitude 2,700 metres) in Kashmir. There are golf courses in the mountains, plains, deserts and at beach resorts. The environment of each course is unique in its culture and history, highlighting all that makes India a diverse destination. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that one of the best ways to experience India is through its golf courses.

Golfing in India has come a long way, and a large number of Indian players now compete on the international circuit. Golf enthusiasts continue to grow in numbers, and new courses are added almost every year.

SELECTED GOLF COURSES IN INDIA
Agra - Agra Golf Club
Holes: 9
A nine hole course with all greens just a stone's throw from the Taj Mahal is actually playing golf against the background of one of the seven wonders of the world. Indeed, a unique course to play on! The tall trees on all the sides offer just a glimpse of the Taj dome from the club house. You will require all your golfing acumen to save the ball from getting lost in the woods. The course is certainly a challenge for the professional, as the putting greens are not as smooth as one would like them to be but where else would you find such a historical back drop of monuments to play against?

Bangalore - Bangalore Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6703/5414
Par: 71
Second oldest course in India founded in 1876. Fairways are dry and sandy but greens are lush and well-manicured. A large number of flowering trees such as palm eucalyptus and colorful gulmohar. Compact course with some rocky parts in the fairways.

Bangalore - Eagleton Golf Village
Holes: 18
Length: 6668
Par: 72
Designed by Pacific Coast Designs Australia. A great design with modern drainage and irrigation systems. A well planned facility.

Mumbai - Bombay Presidency Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6223/5463
Par: 70/72
First built in 1827 then re-designed by Peter Thompson with the Arabian Sea winds in mind. Excellent greens, tight fairways and an unusual hazard at the 16th hole, an elephant pit. It is not a difficult course; not to narrow, not too long and yet not an easy course to break par.

Kolkata - Royal Calcutta Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 7195/6871
Par: 72
Rating: 73.6/72.1 In 1911 the club was honoured by King George V and Queen Mary who conferred the title "Royal" to commemorate their visit to Calcutta. Mostly flat terrain, small greens and natural water hazards. Best time to play is October through March. Established in 1829.

Kolkata - Tollygunge Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6520/5686
Par: 71
Sir William Cruikshank aquired this property in 1895 and created an equestrian sports facility. This garden course offers lots of water hazards, one of which, the 14thhole, requires a shot to sail over a huge water tank that is filled with water lilies. It is dubbed the "Hydrophobia Hole".
Chandigarh - Chandigarh Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6618/6182
Par: 72

What makes the Chandigarh course interesting are its lush green fairways bounded by groves of trees which funnel out onto the green. Each fairway has is own distinctive fragrance, depending on the species of trees planted there. Playing the full course, a thick mango, jamun, eucalyptus and kikar groves, dotted by a variety of rose bushes. The greens are probably the truest in the country and have to be read very carefully. The par five, 480 yards, seventh hole is one of the toughest on the course. It requires short and sure shots to negotiate the crescent shaped fairway and avoid the thickly wooded roughs. The most difficult green is the fourteenth, surrounded by bunker: and out-of-bound areas. The most scenic hole, however, is the 580 yards, par five, sixteenth, with an extremely tight fairway running parallel to the lake on the right and mini-zoo and grove of trees on the left. A road bisects the Chandigarh course into two, with nine holes on either sides.

Hyderabad - Hyderabad Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6434
Par: 72
A lush green course that is managed by the Army. The holes are interestingly named after historical figures or events such as The Battle of Waterloo.

Jaipur - Jaipur Golf Club
Holes: 18
An eighteen hole course with nine greens and nine browns overlooks the picturesque Moti Doongri Palace and the historical Nahargarh Fort. The fairway passes through the Rambagh Polo Grounds, which have seen some of the finest polo matches in the time of the late Sawai Man Singh. These days there are more golfers to be seen on the ground where the royals once moved on their chargers. The upper course has nine greens around the polo ground. A drain separates the lower course which has nine browns spread over a rough undulating terrain.

Chennai - Madras Gymkhana Club Golf Course
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6325/5765
Par: 70
This course is unique in that it is situated within the 2,400 metre oval of the Guindy race course, it offers a challenging game. The fairways at Guindy are flat and fast and encircled by the out-of-bounds race track. The greens are lush and well maintained and also strategically located, mostly along the track. Hazards on the course include not only thick roughs, bunkers and water tanks, but unpredictable obstructions like the race horses on their workouts.

Chennai - Cosmopolitan Club Golf Annexe
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6859/5863
Par: 72
Spread over an area of 75 acres, a variety of trees run along the fairways, which are tight for the first nine holes but open out for the back nine. The well-laid cosmopolitan course has been redesigned by Peter Thompson with liberal use of lateral water hazards.

Mysore - Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar Golf Course
Holes: 18
Length: 5446
Par: 70
No greens are laid out on this course that is within the Race Course at Mysore. No golf is played during the Racing Season. A brown course, flat with some trees.

New Delhi - Delhi Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6869/5859
Par: 72
Delhi Golf Club is perhaps the only Golf Club in the world, dotted with the monuments of great historic and archaeological value. In the 1930's the British ordered their Chief of the Horticulture Department to design a course amongst the picturesque surroundings of the Tombs of the Lodhi Dynasty of Delhi, which date back to the 15th century. The character of the course lies in the rich fauna and flora that it has on either side of the fairways thereby giving prime importance to accuracy in the game. The Delhi Golf Club is also home to many professional tournaments including the Indian Open, part of the prestigious Asian PGA circuit.

Gurgaon (near Delhi) - The DLF Golf & Country Resort
Holes: 18
Par: 72
Designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer, this golf course is superbly located close to the international airport. This magnificent golf course offers a great test of golf and will challenge players of all skill levels. Night golf at DLF is a memorable experience and one not to be missed. There is a fully equipped golf academy and a warm, comfortable clubhouse that adds to the unique golf experience.

Gurgaon (near Delhi) - Classic Golf Resort
Holes: 27
Length: 7114 yards
Par: 72
The Classic Golf Resort is the first South Asian signature championship course designed by the great Jack 'Golden Bear' Nicklaus. The resort has been built on a 300-acre expanse, at the foothills of the picturesque Aravalli hills. This international standard Classic Golf course is located on the outskirts of Delhi, off the Delhi - Jaipur highway and about a 45 minutes drive away from Delhi. This fusion of international experience with Indian expertise, indigenous adaptation of globally accepted materials and processes as well as the constant adherence to quality standards is what makes the Classic Golf Resort a truly world class championship venue.

Noida (near Delhi) - Jaypee Greens
Holes: 18
A historical course on the location of the Battle of Delhi. Some water hazards as per a water drain that runs through fairways 8, 10, 11, and 17. A large lake is featured on the 7th hole, which is also the tightest.

Ooty - Ootacamund Gymkhana Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 6074/5125
Par: 70
Incorporated in 1896 and made into a greens in 1929. It is located at a mountainous7,600 feet. A Ross Thompson design that is open year round.
Shillong - Shillong Golf Club
Holes: 18
Yardage: 5873/5231
Par: 70

Not only is the Shillong course scenic and enjoyable, it is also challenging. Course is set in an undulating valley covered with pine and rhododendron trees. Tight fairways are difficult to negotiate with the number of out-of-bounds streams that criss-cross every fairway only making it more trying. Obstructions come in the form of bunkers, trees and rain. Shillong is just 56 km from the wettest place in the world. A group of British Civil Service officers introduced golf to Shillong in 1898 by constructing a nine-hole course. Present 18-hole course was inaugurated in 1924. Tight fairway is carpeted with a unique local grass, which hardens the soil. The longest hole is the 6th, a gruelling 594 yards.

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