Willingdon Sports Club – India’s Most Exclusive
The Willingdon Sports Club, one of India’s most exclusive golf club says “No” to actors, jockeys and horse trainers for fear of ruining the ambience and peace at the club. It does welcome corporate memberships given to business executives whose companies have a minimum net worth of Rs 20 crore or a cool AU 4.3 million dollars. Read more about one of the few remaining British-era clubs in India.
STORY BEHIND THE WILLINGDON SPORTS CLUB
The Willingdon Sports Club was established in Mumbai by, then-Governor of Bombay, Lord Willingdon in 1918. Willingdon, a British man, was refused permission to take Indian royals into golf clubs due to the strict Europeans-only rule. Therefore, he decided to start a club that Indians and Europeans could enjoy.
Ironically, his intention of making a more inclusive club has since turned into the most exclusive and elusive club in Mumbai. Memberships have been closed since 1985 with only members’ children, corporate members and “services” (such as civil servants & armed forces) able to attain membership. It offers extensive facilities including a pool, health club, and tennis, squash and badminton courts.
THE WILLINGDON GOLF COURSE
Located in the heart of Mumbai, the 18-hole par-65 course is an oasis of green surrounded by tall skyscrapers.
While it is a very short course at only about 4500 yards, it offers its own set of challenges – tight fairways, hazards galore and fast greens. It boasts the highest number of grass bunkers of any course in India and can be a challenge for visiting golfers. With only one Par 5 hole it might seem like an easy play, but you will be surprised with how challenging it can be with some holes intersecting each other. You’ll find the 12th crossing over the 10th, 11th & 13th.
The 7th is the only par-5 on the course. The hole doglegs to the left and features two trees that sit inconveniently in the middle of the fairway. This makes the already-narrow fairways even tighter.
You could hit toward the 8th fairway and annoy other golfers to give yourself a clearer view of the flag. Alternatively, you could just hit and hope that your ball finds its way to the green safely.
DID YOU KNOW
To be eligible for corporate membership at Willingdon Sports Club, you must be in an executive position in a business that is worth Rs 20 crore (AUD 4.3 million) or more.
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