Delhi Golf Club – India’s Most Prestigious Club
There is nothing like playing India’s Delhi Golf Club. Just imagine teeing off around sandstone relics of a bygone Moghul era to running into 200 different species of birds that call the course home. It is one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the country with its 90-year history and high-profile member base.
THE STORY BEHIND THE DELHI GOLF CLUB
The original course was laid out in 1930 by the then Chief of the Horticultural Department and golfing Scotsman, Sir Edwin Lutyens. He built the course on an old Moghul metropolis that, now, conveniently sits in the centre of New Delhi.
At first, the club struggled financially with only 120 members by 1951. It was saved by Civil Service Officers who successfully petitioned for the government to lease the land at a low annual rent for 30 years.
In 1964, it hosted the first of 28 Indian Opens which saw golfing legends such as Payne Stewart & Peter Thomson win. It now has over 4,000 members, predominantly civil servants and high officials.
THE DELHI GOLF COURSE
The layout has undergone several changes since its inception. In 1951, General J.H. Wilkinson redesigned a smaller course. In 1977, legendary golfer Peter Thomson turned that layout into the championship course it is now.
Despite many redesigns and renovations, the tree-lined fairways are still the same as played back in the ’30s – undulating and sloping gradually. The greens have had significant change with mounds and grassy hollows added demanding more precise shots.
In his first Indian visit in 2014, Tiger Woods enjoyed the course. “It was awesome. It is short and tight compared to modern standards… if you miss the fairway you’re in a bush and it is unplayable – the pressure is great.”
In March 2019, Gary Player Design was selected to renovate the course to make a long-lasting update to Delhi Golf Club. They have been tasked to improve the design characteristics of the greens whilst maintaining the integrity of the history of the course. This includes implementing improved strategic elements, enhanced visual aesthetics and laying out ultra-dwarf Bermuda grass to assist irrigation.
One of the signature holes you can’t miss is the par-3 17th. The tee-box is positioned beside the historic 14th century 12-pillared tomb, Barah Khamba. It might be a brilliant distraction from the narrow fairway you will play through to get to the double-tiered green.
The hole doglegs slightly to the left, making the right side an option to approach the green. But beware, two bunkers have been placed strategically to catch anything short. For those looking to go straight to the flag, overcook your tee shot by 5 metres and it will roll into the bunker behind.
DID YOU KNOW
In 2008, the Delhi Golf Club became the first Indian golf course to stage a European Tour event. It hosted the inaugural Indian Open back in 1964, which saw Peter Thompson win the first of 3 tournaments.
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