Golf In India
Dramatic venues in India offering golf are truly memorable experiences. Tee off from the highest golf course in the world, watch a peacock dance amidst old monuments strewn in the middle of the course or sip a cup of tea at a colonial styled clubhouse. Whether on business or leisure, a game of golf is just a wish away. From the Himalayas, crowded cities and in small towns, by the lakes and forests, tea estates, to exotic desert locales, there is a different flavor to suit every need enabling you to experience the country in a unique manner. In recent years, a large number of
international standard courses designed by names as well as known as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman have come up in India, providing golfers with ample challenges.
India’s British antecedents made it the first country outside of Great Britain to take up the game of golf. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the oldest golf club in India, and the first outside the British Isles, was established in 1829.
Golf had already been played in India for 59 years before the first major course was opened in the USA in 1888. By the end of the 19th century India already had a dozen golf clubs. The now-defunct Royal Bombay Golf Club in 1842 and the Bangalore Golf Club in 1876 followed the founding of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
The Madras Gymkhana Golf Club was established in 1877, and 11 years later, Chennai got its second course in the form of the Cosmopolitan Golf Club. The Shillong Golf Club incorporated a golf course in 1886. In North India, Srinagar was the first to have its own course in the 1880s, followed by
Gulmarg in 1891, known to be the highest in the world. (at an altitude of 2700 meter). For an avid golfer the best way to experience India is through its golf courses.
Today India is ready to cater to the huge and growing demands of golf tourism. There are approximately 200 golf courses in the country, each one of them possessing unique characteristics and offering memorable playing experience. Most of these golf courses are backed with excellent clubhouse facilities, proshops, food and beverage arrangements, practice areas and are well connected with the cities.
The best thing about playing golf in India is the fact that one can experience these exceptional courses at very economical rates. The general green fee for Indian residents is around Rs. 2,000/- for weekends and around US$ 70 for foreigners (weekdays US$ 35). The caddie fee ranges from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 (US$ 5 – 7). These golfing facilities are backed with excellent lodging and boarding arrangements. Each Indian city offers a variety of hotels ranging from economy to deluxe and five-star hotels.
Though India became part of the international golfing circuit in 1964 with the launch of the Indian Open, it wasn’t until 1996 that the world recognized India as a golfing nation. That year, India was invited to the Alfred Dunhill Cup, a 16 nation event, at the Old Course of St. Andrews, Scotland. In what is considered the most shocking result in the history of the tournament, the Indian contingent of Gaurav Ghei, Jeev Milkha Singh and Ali Sher defeated the hosts and strong favourites, Scotland . In 1997 , India got its second regular Asian PGA Tour event when the Hero Honda Masters was launched. Arjun Atwal sets quite a milestone for Indian golf, being the first Indian to qualify for US Tour. Today, golfing in India has indeed come a long way with a large number of Indian players competing and winning on the international circuit. Golf enthusiasts including women, continue to grow in numbers, and new courses are added almost every year.