Photo Location : Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

David Harrison
It was David Harrison’s umpteenth trip to South India’s Nilgiris region, where he had previously been regaled with the history of the local tribes, the workings of tea plantations and the hospitality of elegant homestays. But in 2014, he discovered the love of golf in Coonoor, when an acquaintance offered him to come along as a guest in one of the most gorgeous golf courses of the region. As they were leaving the Wellington Gymkhana Club, wending their way up along a hill, David stopped to take a picture for posterity. Not only did he want to capture the serenity of the course, cocooned in the hills of the town, but also the rich diversity of his experiences in India. This picture summed up for him, why he loves India and keeps coming back to all its unique opportunities for travellers.






Photo Location : The lush course of Delhi Golf Club

Golf came to India as a byproduct of the colonization of the country in the 19th century. In normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be surprising, as many countries took to the habits of the Britishers when they were making inroads around the world. But golf was a different story –it was expensive, elitist and needed a sort of a reserved sporting skill that people were absolutely unaware of. India was the only country out of Britain that took to the sport well and till now, celebrates its presence with historic golf clubs and iconic greens across the country. In fact, India is also home to the highest golf course in the world, in Gulmarg. For a golf enthusiast, this is the haven of stunning courses and great infrastructure all across the country. In this section, we have picked four of the most exemplary golf courses of the country for you to sample.

Gulmarg Golf Club
Sitting in the gondola, floating up to the Kungdoor and Aparwath is when you can see the full span of Gulmarg’s golf course. Only when you see it from this angle is when you realise the magnificence of the highest golf course in the world. The historic course was opened up in 1911 and has been around for more than 100 years as a holiday resort. It has seen some of the best tournaments for both amateurs and professionals over the years. Apart from being the highest golf course at 8700 feet, it also the longest in the country at 7505 yards.

Royal Calcutta Golf Club
1829 was a landmark year for the country when India saw the entry of an unfamiliar sport. It was in this year that the Royal Calcutta Golf Club was founded in the city. It was paddy fields that were once the landscape of the course. Now a 72-par course dotted with water tanks and natural water hazards sprawls in this area. The golf course serves as lungs to the otherwise cluttered city.

Golf stalwarts consider this one of the most deceptive courses – it looks easy till you actually tee off.
Bangalore Golf Club
A golf course with a unique logo, this one is sure to make you stop and wonder. The logo is a crow with a golf ball in its beak. Story goes that the crows that encircle this course have been mistaking golf balls for eggs almost ever since the club was founded in 1876. You will have to tee off on the 60-acre course and see if you’re missing a golf ball in some time. This is also one of the country’s most compact 18-hole golf courses.

Delhi Golf Club
The never ending waiting list to be part of the Delhi Golf Club goes to show its popularity on the circuit –one may have to wait for more than 30 years to get membership. North India’s most legendary course is treated with equal importance as the monuments from the Mughal era. It lies adjacent to structures like India Gate, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi Zoo, and Lodhi Gardens. The Delhi Golf club was originally called the Lodhi Golf Course. It is now a permanent feature on the Asian PGA circuit.


Footloose in Delhi
Golfing in the capital city

The history filled monument trails, rushes of old world charm, congested but atmospheric markets and the glitziness of the modern world arrests your senses in Delhi. To soak everything in, you need to pull back from this and opt for a retreat that will refresh and rejuvenate you. For golfers, there couldn’t be a better haven to tee off in style from a number of state of the art courses. It was late February last year, when I followed a golfer friend in his pursuit to tee off in every single golf course in the country. Delhi, his hometown, was last on the list, but naturally, the most exciting. As we set our goal to amble each morning on chilly February week, despite my groggy eyes, it opened me up to the world of golf. If you’re travelling to Delhi, here are some of the unmissable golfing hotspots that are sure to win you over.

JP Golf Club, Greater Noida
One of the most coveted golf courses of the city, JP Golf Club presents state of the art facilities to the capital’s golfers. Designed by none other than world champion, Greg Norman, the Jaypee course sprawls over 7347 yards. Plenty of hazards – both water and bunkers – keep the momentum of the game exciting. The experience of the club is amplified with suitable facilities to stay, that exude the same preimum ambience as the golfing area.

Classic Golf Resort, Manesar
When a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course with 18 Holes, Par 72 over 7114 Yards exists in the city, there is no reason to step out for a golfing holiday. Book yourself in Classic Gold Resort just off the city and you’re transported to golfing haven. A property of ITC Classic, this is a lush course lying in the shadow of a low mountain.

The Golf course comprises of 27 holes of 03 nine each, named as The Ridge, The Valley and The Canyon. Manesar lies on the outskirts of Delhi and is easily accessible for a day long golfing trip or ideally, a weekend to immerse yourself in the sport.
Delhi Golf Club
Imagine being wedged in the company of historic monuments like India Gate and Lodhi Gardens. This is what the Delhi Golf Club promises. Tee off in style in the characterful course, which has retained an atmospheric ambience with narrow scrub and tree-lined fairways with dense undergrowth. The experience is charming in more ways that you can imagine. For those of interested in statistical knowledge, Graham Marsh, the Australian, who in the first and second rounds of the 1971 Open made his way to victory, holds the course record.

Golden Greens, Gurgaon – One of the most challenging courses for even the most seasoned players, you can access world-class practice facilities for Rs 100 on a daily basis – this is great for travellers who want to swing for a break. More than just the ease of entry and economical pricing, the golf course serves as a relief from the concrete surroundings of Gurgaon. This is a great facility for beginners and those who want to whet their skills before signing up for long term club commitments.
DLF Golf and Country Club
Located in the satellite town of Gurgaon, the DLF club's championship golf course was designed by none other than Arnold Palmer and has hosted a number of professional and amateur tournaments. Its proximity works wonders for those who cannot take out much time to head out of the city. The DLF Golf and Country Club is an institution in itself and one of the most coveted in-city golfing facility.


Kalyan Hometel Opens In Chennai

‘Kalyan Hometel’ from the house of Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has made a foray into the Chennai market with a new property at the Vandalur-Chennai road. This is a new age business hotel with 108 comfortable rooms and suite. The optimum pricing of the rooms starting Rs 3,450++ is what sets it apart from many others, for the kind of facilities that are provided. “The existing demand-supply gap in this industrial town offers huge opportunity for hospitality brands. This allows us great prospect for our brand Hometel that is designed to provide unmatched facilities at value for money price. We are happy to associate with the Kalyan Grand Stay Pvt. Ltd. who is taking initiative to invest and promote this destination, which has great potential. Hotels in Tier II and III cities are seeing major hospitality developments and will continue to be some of the most attractive locations for our future investments.” said Anil Madhok, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts. Facilities at the hotel include a fitness centre, an all-day dining with bar, banquet & conference spaces along with a business centre. This makes it an ideal venue to host trainings, workshops, product launches, exhibitions, weddings and other social events.

Courtyard Marriott Makes Steps Into Raipur

Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh has been seeing a momentum in business over the last few years. Courtyard by Marriott, the 14th property for the brand in India, has just been launched. The hotel has the largest guest suite in the city, at 699 square feet, making it a good option for elite guests. Neeraj Govil, Market Vice- President, South Asia, Marriott International Inc. iterated during the launch, “The business community in South Asia, specifically in India, is growing at an unprecedented rate and this community is looking at lodging options that combines comfort and value. Central India in particular is evolving at a rapid pace and we want to be a part of this growth story, Raipur is an upcoming business and MICE destination, making it a key player in the region. We believe our new property will efficiently cater to this growing business segment.” There are 96 rooms and 12 suites. All of these are equipped with high-speed wireless Internet, TVs, coffee machine and other conveniences designed for the business traveller. The spa is one of the finest features of the property. The hotel is an ideal venue for corporate events, meeting facilities and workshops areas with a 425-square-metre ballroom, which can be divided into two function spaces.

Telangana To Launch Luxury Yatch Rides

The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC) has amped up the holidaying experience in the state by launching two new catamaran yachts on the Hussain Sagar Lake at Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, amidst a large cultural show. These have been sources from USA and boast of immaculate quality. Priced optimally at Rs 100 per person, this is accessible to a large diaspora of travellers and locals. Not only are the boats equipped with a soothing ambience but it also has many facilities on board. The inauguration was done by Sania Mirza, brand ambassador for Telangana State. TSTDC owns the largest water fleet in India amongst the state tourism departments, about 95 which comprises small and big boats. This helps them to run both leisure based cruises and water sports at different lakes and rivers of the State - parasailing is yet another activity that happens at Hussain Sagar.

Delhi-Bangkok To Get Better Connectivity

Thai Airways will operate additional daylight flight TG324-TG323, on the Delhi- Bangkok route, increasing frequency to 19 flights a week. With prices starting from Rs 12,437++, the route gets an additional push for the already popular route. Right now there is connectivity from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore offering 52 flights a week. The airline also operates seasonal flights from Gaya and Varanasi between October- March. Viset Sontichai, Director Thai Airways for India Subcontinent, mentioned during the announcement,

“It is our endeavour to ensure that our passengers enjoy a comfortable and happy journey on Thai, we are constantly working to improve our service as per changing demands and customer’s expectations, from upgrading aircrafts to world class ground services at Suvarnbhumi airport, changing F&B options as per service route requirements, entertainment and shopping on board; convenience of web purchase and online services, THAI is dedicated to customer satisfaction,”

37 More Countries Come Under the e-TV

India’s e-Tourist Visa facility has be extended to the last lot of 37 countries, making the total count of countries under the scheme to 150, as decided by the Government of India. The new 37 countries included in e-Tourist Visa scheme are Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Namibia, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The facility was launched on November 27, 2014 in order to give better access to 150 nations worldwide. Till now the scheme has been extended to 113 countries at sixteen Indian airports designated for providing e-Tourist visa service. Over 7.50 lakh Visas have been issued till date and on an average 3,500 e-Tourist Visas are being granted daily to foreign nationals to give a boost to inbound travel in the country.