the-south-asian Life & Times                   April - June 2009



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The Most Spectacular Himalayan Golf Courses

- where the air is crisp and thin, the ball flies further, the holes are challenging and the views rugged and spectacular. Golf could not get more serious than this. There are no caddies here who serve players Scotch after every third hole. There are no five-star club houses. There is only golf amidst the highest mountains in the world.

Compiled by The South Asian Life & Times


The British brought golf to India, and preferred to play the sport in the cool of the mountains, where they laid out several courses. The Himalayan golf courses are not exactly the game's green cathedrals, in fact many are nine-hole courses where one plays eighteen from different tees all thousands of feet above sea level, surrounded by towering peaks, in hill stations that are now remnants of the British Raj in India.

Kashmir, Himachal, and West Bengal in India, and Nepal and Bhutan, have spectacular courses not in terms of professional standards but in their breathtaking and rugged beauty, where only the committed dare. Some are so high up in the mountains, they are kept mowed by buffalo and cattle.

Himalaya - the loftiest mountain range in the world stretches 1500 miles from Kashmir in the North to Assam in the east. Associated more with climbing and trekking, the Himalayan range offers some stunning golf courses, with some of the tallest peaks in the world looking over the fairways and greens the 9-hole Senchal Golf Course (at 8,100 feet) near Darjeeling (West Bengal, India) may offer a distant view of the Everest on a clear day; the Himalayan Golf Club in Pokhara, Nepal, provides a ringside view of the Annapurna; Kashmir has two famous courses: Gulmarg Golf Club, built by the British in 1904 in the town of Gulmarg, claims to be the highest green golf course in the world at 8,960 feet or 2,650 meters (courses higher than 9,000 feet don't have much grass), and the Royal Springs Golf Course in the capital, Srinagar, designed by the renowned golf-course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., is framed by the Zabarwan Hills.

The Naldehra Golf Club near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, was built on the order of the viceroy of India amidst wide-angle Himalayan views of mountains and cedar. The nine-hole Royal Thimphu in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, has a unique rule - "A ball lying within one club length around the tree can be dropped without penalty, no closer to the hole. If the golfer plays and hits the tree with his/her club, the player will automatically be disqualified."

Your handicap is irrelevant on these courses only the experience of golf matters.

The South Asian Life & Times features five of the most spectacular and unique Himalayan golf courses.















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