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Golfing in Gulmarg

Gulmarg offers one of the most scenic golfing opportunities in North-India

History of Golf 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 fastness, in metropolitan cities and in small towns, by lakes and forests, or sorrounded 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 !876. 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 !9th 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.

Most of India's courses are well connected by road, rail, and air, and have excellent accommodation facilities. Unfortunately, India still has to rely on the West for golfing equipment, and visitors are advised to carry their own sets, with an ample supply of golf balls.

Till the '50s, golf clubs in India were affiliated to the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, which followed the rules of St. Andrews in Scotland. In December 1955, a group of golfers got together to form the Indian Golf Union as the controlling body for the game.

The Indian Golf Union is now affiliated to the World amateur Golf Council, and has done a great deal to promote golfing in the country. In 1957, it started its first training camp at the Royal Golf Club in Calcutta, where assistant professionals and caddies were brought from all over the country and trained to teach golf.

The year 1958 is a landmark in the history of Indian golf. For the first time, the amateur Indian Championship was moved away from the Royal Calcutta Golf Club to be played alternately at Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta. The most important annual event in the calendar of the Indian Open Golf Championship was first played in Delhi in 1964, and won by the Australian golfer, Peter Thompson.

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. And what could be a better feather in India's golfing cap than the fact that Delhi was chosen to host the first ever golf competition for the Asian Games in 1982.

Golf Clubs of India

    Bangalore Golf Club
    No.2, Sankey Road,
    High Grounds, Bangalore 560001
    Ootacumund Gymkhana Club
    Ooty Golf Club,
    Chandigarh Golf Club
    Sector 6
    Kodaikanal Golf Club
    Golflinks Road,
    Madras Gymkhana Club
    Race Course, Guindy
    Delhi Golf Club
    Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg,
    New Delhi.
    Bombay Presedency Golf Club
    Dr. Choitram Gidwani Road,
    Chembur, Bombay 400 074
    Gulmarg Golf Club
    Royal Calcutta Golfing Club
    18, Golf Club Road
    Shillong Golf Club
    Polo Ground,
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