The early morning breeze, the greens of the field and the assurity that your family is being well-taken care of, leaving you to spend leisurely time at the course is perhaps every Golfer’s dream. Turning this dream into a reality are the various Golf Resorts of our country, which offer the best of both the worlds – great golfing grounds and equally good resorts to relax and have fun.
Priyanka Saxena Ray
ROYAL SPRINGS GOLF COURSE, SRINAGAR
The Royal Springs Golf Course is easily one of the most stunning and breathtaking golf courses you would play in India with the Zabarwan hills in the background and the Dal Lake around the corner. The course is spread over 300 acres of rolling hills, native deciduous forest, lakes, wilderness with the occasional marsh. Don’t be surprised if you spot the rare Hangul lurking in the thickets. A wide variety of bird life can be spotted on the course including a large number of kites at the 9th and 18th hole as they feast on the fish that thrive in the water bodies adjoining these holes. The course was built out a forest and has huge changes in undulations and scenery making it a pleasure to play on.
The Royal Spring Golf course (RSGC) is located close to the Mughal Gardens, Chashma Shahi, at the foothills of Zabarvan hills and overlooks the tranquil Dal Lake. The designer of this beautiful course is the globally acclaimed Robert Trent Jones Jr. II. He has designed over 500 golf courses around the world including some of the longest courses in the USA. Clubs are available for hire and buggies are mandatory as at this altitude as it could be foolish to walk the course unless you have been playing high altitude courses. Expect your ball to travel atleast 10 per cent further on this course. The biggest challenge is handling the rough on this course and reading the lines and slopes on the greens. A tip we picked up – if you are putting in the direction of the hills – it is often an uphill putt even if it looks downhill! That could save you a few 4 putts (yes you heard that right – 4 putts are common the first time you play here)
Important Tip: While planning a trip to Srinagar, try and get a booking done at Srinagar’s newest five-star hotel, Vivanta by Taj – Dal View and the old favourite The LaLiT Grand Palace Srinagar overlooking the Dal Lake.
JAYPEE GREENS GOLF & SPA RESORT, GREATER NOIDA
Located at Greater Noida, Jaypee Greens is the first Greg Norman signature course in India. The course is an 18-hole championship layout, designed with the firm belief of setting new standards for championship golf in India and at the same time remains enjoyable for golfers of all levels.
Built on what was previously a flat featureless site, the design of the course involved the creation of several lakes. The earth from these lakes has been used to generate a dynamic, soft and undulating landform suitable for the laying out of 18 very exciting and challenging holes. Each half of nine holes has 2 Par 5s, 5 Par 4s and 2 Par 3s making an overall par of 72. From championship tees, the course is strong and one of the longest in the world with a length of 7347 yards.
It wouldn’t be an idle boast to say that Jaypee Greens has the finest fairways in India. Its gently rolling fairways are grassed using an imported Bermuda grass called Evergreen. This grass has been selected for its exceptional performance and superior playing surface. The greens’ surfaces are intended to be firm and fast and careful management of the Tifdwarf Bermuda grass, selected again for its well-proven performance, achieves this. A fully automatic irrigation system is used to water the turf. State-of- the-art turf care machines are used for upkeep and maintenance of turf surface.
The bunkering style at Jaypee Greens sets it apart from other courses in India. The bunkers are reminiscent of classic Melbourne Sand belt courses including the world famous Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath layouts. Deep, with steep sand faces and cut edges, the bunkers are visually striking. They are carefully located to provide strategy and to duly reward the thinking golfer who challenges them with accurate shot making.
Apart from bunkering, the other hazards of the course include some of the lakes, which at times cross the line of play. The course landscaping includes considerable planting of open and closed woodlands, understory shrub lands, wetlands and wild-grassed area.
Important Tip: The Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort has 170 well-furnished rooms and suites with all the modern facilities that offers plenty of opportunities / facilities to indulge in.
AAMBY VALLEY CITY, MAHARASHTRA
Around 2700 feet above sea level, nestled in the hills, set in a 10,000 acre project development, the Aamby valley golf course is often spoken about in hushed tones. No wonder it had been voted and judged as the top course in the country in 2005 and is a must play course. It’s a course which challenges you to think and play each hole. Immaculately maintained with world class training and practice facilities the course is a visual delight and a challenge.
Located amongst the Western Ghats and spread over 250 acres the 18 hole championship course is a 7087 yard, Par 72 layout designed by David Hemstock (UK). Some modifications and the driving range were then added by PGA Design consulting (UK). It is part of the Aamby valley city which is a 10,000 acre oasis. With mountains and hills surrounding the course on all sides and a vast expanse of lakes within, the air here is crisp and fresh.
The front 9 has a different DNA from the back nine – with hazards running across the fairways. The back 9 has more water bodies in store. There is a plethora of wildlife – expect a variety of birds, peacocks and the occasional deer. With a world class clubhouse, pro shop and a training academy the Aamby Valley Golf Course is an experience which is unique.
Important Tip: Aamby Valley City offers a wide range of accommodation, from chalets inspired by Switzerland to Spanish-style cottages.
PRESTIGE GOLFSHIRE CLUB, BENGALURU
Set to the backdrop of the picturesque Nandi Hills across 275 acres is Bangalore’s most premium property – Prestige Golfshire Club. Dedicated to perfecting the art of luxurious living and a culture of leisure, it comes complete with ultra luxurious mansions, a planned 300 bed luxury hotel and the piece de resistance, an 18 hole championship golf course by PDA Design Consulting.
Measuring 7004 yards from the championship tees and employing the wild shaping of links courses and a distinctive bunker style, this 18 hole course offers rugged beauty as well as a tough-but-fair golfing challenge.
The most distinctive feature of British architect Bob Hunt’s creation is its amazing rippling fairways, reminiscent of the links courses of old. But there is plenty more to Golfshire Club to get the blood pumping. The mature landscape of the old farmlands has been retained as far as possible to provide a serene setting for the front nine while the back nine is more exposed to the elements. The course was built with undulating greens- several of which are two-tiered and deep, shapely bunkers. Vast lakes and streams run through the course providing challenging golf hazards as well as year round irrigation storage, ensuring that this golf course is one of the most luxurious in the country.
This is India’s first course to be managed by the TROON GOLF company and you can expect exceptional service levels here. The Golfshire club also has a fully equipped 100,000 sq ft club house replete with a restaurant (The Falcon green), a Pro shop, Gym, Swimming pool and a wide range of amenities that will provide the perfect end to a challenging game of golf.
The Golfshire club is a 45 minute drive from the heart of Bangalore and 10 minutes from the new Bangalore International Airport. Golfshire Club is as close to Bangalore’s business and commercial districts as it is away from it all.
Important Tip: There is no dearth of good hotels in Bangalore. From the JW Marriott to The Leela to The Taj, Bangalore has it all, and more.
KAZIRANGA GOLF RESORT, JORHAT
Kaziranga Golf Resort near Jorhat in Assam is set in lush tea estates and is a unique golf resort. Set in the Sangsua and Gatoonga tea estates in a 150 acre area this is an 18 hole, 6830 yard, Par 71 course. Beautifully maintained you will find lush green fairways, smooth greens and roughs that are memorable – they are all Bermuda grass. With bungalows and cottages this is a perfect holiday spot in a colonial tea environment. The resort also allows you to pick up and learn the game of golf with a large Golf Academy.
Designed by Ranjit Nanda this course is tight, with fast and true greens and water in play on 6 holes. Bad shots are punished – sometimes severely and playing to your handicap on this course will test your skills. The shortest hole from the back tees plays to 185 yards and that should give you an idea of the challenges that lie ahead. Opened in 2011 this course is open to all golfers making it an ideal golf breakaway site. The driving range is a unique double sided access design allowing 72 people to use it at any given time.
A game of golf here will be played amidst tea plantations, paddy fields and in settings that are in sync with nature. With the climate in Jorhat ranging from a min of 12oC (winters) to a max of 35 (in June, July and Aug) this is a yearlong golf destination. The Kaziranga Golf resort is owned by the B and A group.
Important Tip: North East is the undiscovered gem of India and has plenty to indulge in and see. If your family likes adventure in the lap of nature, pick this particular Golf Course to play in and be assured that your family will not bother you!
ROYAL CALCUTTA GOLF CLUB
Royal Calcutta Golf Club affectionately known as the “Royal” is synonymous with the game of golf in this country. Founded in 1829, Royal is the oldest golf club outside the British Isles, the oldest being the Royal and Ancient, St Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf. The Royal truly has a history that would be a treasure for the archives of the game of golf. In 1911, the club was honoured by King George V and Queen Mary, who conferred on it, the title of “Royal” to commemorate their visit to Calcutta. Much of the memorabilia connected with the history of the club is still preserved in the club house.
The course is today an 18 hole, 6978 yard, Par 72 course with a 73.6 /136 rating and hosts a multitude of tournaments. Located in the heart of Kolkata at Tollygunge it is easily one of the most revered and talked about courses in India. Playing at the Royal for a lot of golfers is a matter of pride.
The course started as a 9 hole course and by 1925 had 36 holes. The clubhouse, as we see it today was constructed and completed in 1914. Originally located near the Calcutta airport, the club moved to the Maidan and finally to its present location at Tollygunge in 1910. Meant exclusively for the use of gentlemen, ladies were very reluctantly admitted to the club in 1886!
Important Tip: There is no dearth of hotels and resorts in Kolkata in addition to plenty sightseeing.