Golf tourism, anyone?

golf tourism

Is India a golfing country? Can golf tourism be developed here, as an additional revenue stream? Do we have enough golf facilities in the country? These questions were deliberated at length under the Dekho Apna Desh webinar series, organised by the Ministry of Tourism.

The session was moderated by Rupinder Brar, ADG, Ministry of Tourism and presented by Rajan Seghal, Co-founder Passionals; Amish Desai, Director, Beleast Travels P Ltd and Arun Iyer, Managing Director, My Golf Tour.

All three panellists have decades of experience and hold badges of specialisation in various areas of travel and tourism industry, besides being avid golfers and actively supporting and promoting Golf Tourism as a niche tourism product of the country. Dekho Apna Desh webinar Series is an effort to showcase India’s rich diversity.

The presentation began with the moderator describing the mindful pleasures of golfing as a meditative activity and how a composed game such as golf can eliminate the battles of stress the human mind goes through. Brar further welcomed and introduced the first speaker of the session Rajan Sehgal who took the viewers through an array of golfing courses in north India. According to a survey, a golfer spends 40-45% more than a normal tourist and takes about 2-3 golfing holidays in a year. Golf tourism in India particularly, Sehgal said, has a strong potential since the climatic condition is more favourable here as compared to most countries. The picturesque landscapes of the country and exceptional hospitality services too, add to the enhanced experience of golf tourism in India. 

The golf courses covered in North Region included Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar, Lidder Valley Golf Course, Pahalgam, Gulmarg Golf Course, and Jammu Tawi Golf Course, Chandigarh Golf Course, Panchkula Golf Course  

The following courses covered comes under Delhi and NCR regions, namely Delhi Golf Course, Qutub Golf Course, Jaypee Golf Course, DLF Golf Course, ITC Classic Golf Course, Tarudhan Golf Course and Karma Lakeland Golf Course. While Delhi Golf Course and Qutub Golf Course are public courses, Jaypee Golf Course and DLF Golf Course have numerous amenities such as spas, resorts, restaurants, swimming pools, residential accommodation, etc 

The Agra Club Golf Course is also a potential course that needs attention for a revamp and upgrade.

The session was handed over to Arun Iyer for continuing with golf courses in western and eastern region of the country. His first location was Maharashtra which has The Bombay Presidency Golf Course, The Willington Sports Club and the Kharghar Valley Golf Course in Mumbai. These courses are located amidst the centre of the city, but one will be pleased to play a game here to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Other golf courses include Aamby Valley Golf Course near the hills of Lonavala that has night golfing facility, then there is the Pune Golf Course and the Oxford Golf Course located in a valley near Pune. These courses have many accolades and titles to themselves. 

The second location that Iyer highlighted on was Ahmedabad which is the fastest growing city in terms of new courses and promoting junior golf. Kalhaaar Blues and Greens, Kensville Golf Resort, Gulmohar Green Golf & Country Club, Glade One and The Belvedere Golf Course. The Gaekwad Baroda Heritage Golf Club in Gujarat surrounds the magnificent Laxmi Vilas Palace which is four times bigger than the Buckingham palace. 

Kolkata and the north-eastern part of India also offers many golfing courses where one can play their hearts out at Tollygunge Golf Course, The Royal Calcutta Golf Club which was the first ever golf course built outside the British islands, Kaziranga Golf Course, Digboi Golf Course and several other golf clubs in Meghalaya. This way once can play golf and enjoy the beauty of the region while on a trip to the foothills of the Himalaya. 

The final part of the session was taken over by Amish Desai who took the viewers on an enthralling golf journey to the southern part of India and described every golf destination with precision and interesting facts. Desai stressed on how Golf tourism is not just about golfers and should not be made accessible only to them, but it is also about golf vacation where families can travel and experience an extensive holiday at the landing place. 

The golf courses showcased in South India included Hyderabad Golf Club, Boulder Hills Golf and Country Club in Telangana. Tamil Nadu also offers some prominent golf courses of India such as the Madras Gymkhana Club and the Cosmopolitan Club Golf course in Chennai. Coimbatore Golf Club is considered to have world class greens standards and is the venue for national and international tournaments. Another golf club in Coimbatore is the Kovai Hills Golf Club set in the foothills of the Western Ghats and sprawls across a large expanse of land.   

Kerala has the CIAL Golf and Country Club in Kochi which has a world class facility for golf lovers. Munnar, which is a 4-hour drive from Kochi, is surrounded by tea plantations, waterfalls and national parks and houses the High Range Club and the Kundale Golf Club. 

The last destination Desai covered during his part of the hour-long session was the state of Karnataka. Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka is known as the golfing hub of South India The courses showcased included  Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), The Eagleton Golf Course, the Prestige Golfshire Club, Zion Hills Golf County and Bangalore Golf Club located at the heart of Bangalore city which is also the second oldest functioning golf course in India.

Other golf courses in Karnataka include the Chikmagalur Golf Club in Chikmagalur that boasts of aromatic coffee plantations, Mercara Downs Golf Course and Coorg Golf Links in Coorg which is the most affluent hill station with the misty landscape. Jayachamraja Wadeyar Golf Club in Mysuru, the city famously known for the Mysore Palace and its enriching heritage, is another excellent option.