Golf may have become a popular sport in India now but it has been present in all its glory since the last few centuries. It has literally stayed its course (pun intended) all these years and has watched us dabble from sport to sport till finally, our eyes fell upon it. Of course, it is our colonial predecessors who set the ball rolling (literally) and thus, the sport remained restricted to the privileged few. On that account, these golf clubs came into being, built and designed to cater to the European needs and whims. Come, 21st century these clubs still stand strong in all their singularity with some of them even enjoying the status of the most sought-after clubs in the country.
So, we have prepared a list, so that you may also know;
ROYAL CALCUTTA GOLF CLUB, KOLATA, 1829.
It is the first and the foremost when it comes to Golf Clubs in India. RCGC is not only the first golf club in India but also the oldest golf course outside the British Isles. Founded in the year 1829 near the Calcutta Airport, the club moved to its current location at Tollygunge in 1910. It is known to have hosted the first Amateur Golf Championship of India in 1892 which had participants from Burma, Ceylon, Penang, and Singapore. Most of the top professional and amateur golfers of the country are the products of RCGC and the club has been hosting various professional golf events in the country.
BANGALORE GOLF CLUB, BENGALURU, 1876.
The club was established as a 12-hole golf course in the year 1876. Back in the days, starting from the year 1878, there were held annual tournaments between BGC and the Madras Gymkhana Club; making it the oldest annual club matches anywhere in the world. The club was finally redesigned into an 18-hole golf course in the year 2002.
MADRAS GYMKHANA GOLF CLUB, CHENNAI, 1877.
An annexe of the Madras Gymkhana Club, the Golf club is located within the premises of the Madras Race Course. This 18- hole golf course was established in the year 1877 and holds the position of the third oldest golf course in the country.
THE TOLLYGUNGE CLUB, KOLKATA, 1895.
One of the most sought-after clubs in the country, the Tolly Club is ranked amongst the top 20 Clubs in the world. It is spread in an area over a hundred acres, the property once belonged to the exiled Mysore family and Indigo planters before that. The 220 years old clubhouse was once the residence of the Johnson’s, the Indigo planters. The club boasts of an 18-hole golf course and still continues to hold equestrian and riding activities which was mainly what the club had started for.
KODAIKANAL GOLF CLUB, TAMIL NADU, 1895.
The brainchild of 12 British golfers, the Kodaikanal golf club was founded in 1895. It was a 9-hole golf course till it was redesigned into an 18-hole course in the 1960s. The golf club is nestled 7000 ft above sea level in the Palani hills and is very picturesquely located.
SHILLONG GOLF CLUB, MEGHALAYA, 1898.
Just like the others, this golf club also owes its existence to British Civil Services officers. It was established in the year 1898 with a 9 holes golf course. The club became more popular after the second world war and was converted into an 18-hole golf course in the year 1924. The clubhouse, also built around the same time, is one of the finest specimens of colonial architecture; set against the backdrop of an undulating valley and lush pine and Rhododendron trees.
OOTACAMUND GYMKHANA CLUB, OOTY, 1891.
The 9-hole golf course was founded in the year 1891. The title of Gymkhana came into being in the year 1896; needless to say, all through the efforts of the British army officers. Finally, the club was converted into an 18-hole golf course in 1905 in preparation for the Amateur Golf Challenge Cup. Another scenically situated golf course, the Golf club lies 7000ft above sea level flanked by the Avalanchi range and is surrounded by dense woods all around.
THE DELHI GOLF CLUB, DELHI, 1930.
Located right at the heart of the city, DGC is “the” club of all clubs. It is the golf club that every golfing aspirant wants to be a part of, the golf club that hosts the most prestigious professional events. Originally, known as the Lodhi Club, it was a municipal club till the 1930s. It was granted a corporate status in 1950 and the name “Delhi Golf Club” came into existence in 1951. The 220 acres golf course holds within it the relics of the many dynasties that ruled Delhi; the most conspicuous among them being the ‘Lal Bungla’, the tomb of Shah Alam 2’s mother Lal Kuwar. What’s more, the golf course provides a safe haven to more than 300 species of birds of which the Peacock makes its presence most prominently felt. The 18-hole ‘Lodi Course’ is a championship golf course and there’s an additional 9-hole course called the ‘Peacock Course’.
THE BOMBAY PRESIDENCY GOLF CLUB, MUMBAI, 1927.
A very exclusive and a delimited club when it comes to non-members, BPGC is the oldest and most prestigious golf club in Mumbai. Designed by 5 times British Open winner Peter Thompson, this 18-hole golf course was founded in the year 1927. The golf course was redesigned in 2009 and hosts many professional golf events.
These are the oldest golf clubs in a nutshell, with each having its own story to tell. So, we just thought to acquaint you with them as well.