Golf is no longer only about perfecting your putt, but an inclusive family getaway amidst incredible courses and their off-the-green offerings
It’s a languid misty morning. All’s well with the world as your club comes down with a deft stroke and strips a patch of turf off the grass. Life’s a cinch as you unhurriedly make your way to the 19th hole and a refreshing beverage and snacks, with the satisfying conviction that your partner is enjoying her time out at the nearby hotel spa, where you are staying, while the kids are doing their own thing at the kids’ club.
Golf has come a long way from days of old. Today, the game is synonymous with sun-kissed walks and tranquil skies and allows for travel, family holidays, luxe destinations and plenty of togetherness.
What's exciting about golf in India is the diversity of its courses. Not only does it boast the oldest golf club outside Britain, but also the highest, at Gulmarg – 2,700m – in Kashmir. There are courses in the mountains, plains, deserts and beach resorts, and the ambiance of each is unique.
International golfers are blown away by the presence of ancient domes and Mughal structures in the vicinity of golf courses, most notably the iconic Delhi Golf Club,which nurtures some of the best holes.In another dimension are courses like DLF Golf Club in Gurgaon, Royal Springs in Kashmir or the undulating short-course in Kodaikanal or even the very pristine but challenging course at Aamby Valley, Pune. India now can confidently and conclusively offer some great golf holidays. Golf enthusiasts who journeyed to Scotland, the mecca of golf, now head to India, which not only has some incredible courses, but can most decisively offer some great golf holidays. Take a look at some of them.
THE ROYAL CALCUTTA GOLF CLUB, KOLKATA
Affectionately known as the "Royal," the Royal Calcutta Golf Club is synonymous with the game of golf in India. Founded in 1829, Royal is the oldest golf club outside Britain. Boasting an awesome heritage, it was originally located near the Calcutta airport, but moved to the Maidan and finally to its present location at Tollygunge, in 1910.
Since the Royal Calcutta course was originally paddy fields, the course is therefore undulating. Its conspicuous features are its strategically located water tanks and natural water hazards. The greens at Royal are large by modern standards and their undulations make them tricky. Designed similar to Scotland’s famous St Andrew’s fairway, its spectacular par-72, 18-hole course is challenging and tests the skills of all golfers. Lift your spirits at the 19th Bar after a long golfing day and enjoy a beautiful view of the first tee.
Stay at The Park, Kolkata, which has a number of great dining and nightlife options, or The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata , which has all the modern amenities you may require.
ROYAL SPRINGS GOLF COURSE, SRINAGAR
One of the most scenic golf courses in the world, the Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar could put a seasoned golfer’s attention to the test. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the fir-covered peaks of the Zabarwan Mountains, the championship golf course also boasts panoramic views of Dal Lake.
The 18-hole golf course, spread over 100 hectares,has practice fairways of approximately 225m in length,with three lakes, two marshes, an underground sprinkler irrigation system, comfort stations, rain shelters, a full-fledged maintenance complex, a club house, and about an-eight-and-a-half-long cart path. If you want to challenge yourself further, head to the Pahalgam Golf Club, just two hours away, for an invigorating game in the shadows of the Himalayas.
Royal Springs offers unique stay and play experiences in their unique Royal Springs cottages, and exclusive Royal Cottages with rooms that look out over the stunning golf course. The setting is great for family outings, out of town tournaments and business trips.
PRESTIGE GOLFSHIRE CLUB, BENGALURU
Bordered by an expansive lake at the foothills of an ancient hill fortress, and hidden from the outside world, sits 275 acres of lush greenery – the Prestige Golfshire, a classic golf resort in Bengaluru. Located at the foot of the Nandi Hills, on the edge of Lake Karehalli, Prestige Golfshire is designed by PGA Design Consulting and managed by leading golf course management company, Troon Golf.
The 250-acre course features undulating greens, several of which are two-tiered and deep, with shapely bunkers to challenge any professional golfer. The course is part of a part-residential, part-commercial luxury development with its own spa, swimming pool, squash courts, restaurants, and crèche, making it ideal for a family day out.
Prestige Golfshire Club offers a complete Stay & Play Golf experience, with eight exquisite villas nestled amidst the 18-hole championship golf course, which are equipped with four luxurious bedrooms, located within walking distance from the Prestige Golfshire Clubhouse.
THE DELHI GOLF CLUB
Tee off on the historic trail of a glorious past at the iconic Delhi Golf Club, where peacocks and the ruins of lost empires dot the landscape. One of India’s most celebrated golf clubs, the Delhi Golf Cluboccupies 180 acres of pristine, verdant turf in the heart of the city.
The present Delhi Golf Club came into being in 1951and comprises the18-hole Lodhi Course, which is also a stop along the Asia PGA Tour, plus the shorter 9 hole Peacock Course.
Facilities include an attractive outdoor pool,surrounded by an attractive patio with a seating capacity of 100; a Pro Shop,with one of the best equipped golf shops in the area, which is fully stocked with a wide range of clothing and golf equipment; a beautifully located fitness centre in the Annexe building, which provides a breathtaking view of the 18th fairway and a well-appointed room for indulging in congenial card games.Adjoining the fitness centre is a state-of-the-art Steam Room and Changing Room.
OXFORD GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, PUNE
Located just 22km from Pune Airport, the championship Oxford Golf & Country Club is bordered on three sides by the Sahyadri Hills.Voted as one of the Top Golf & Leisure Destinations in India, it boasts Pune’s only 18-hole private golf course, Lead better Golf Academy, an all-suite hotel, and leisure sports facility set amidst 136 acres.
The 18-hole horseshoe-shaped course is perfect for professional golfers and its world-class appeal stems from its many vantage point tee boxes, which provide splendid views of the silver sand bunkers as you drive your ball down the hillsand over 40 practice bays.The 1,100-acre course houses villas, apartments, a hotel and a country club.
Some of the offerings at the Lead better Golf Academy include Head Pro Golf Lessons, Assistant Pro Golf Lessons, Golf Beginner Programmes, Golf Professional Satellite Programmes, Corporate Golf Clinics & Corporate Golf Days. The Pro Shop offers tailor-made rental clubs, Foot-joy rental shoes, balls, gloves, caps accessories, as well as resort and academy branded souvenirs and merchandise memorabilia.