History of Golf in India
The history of golf in India can be traced back to the 19th century. In fact, India was the first country, outside of Great Britain, to adopt golf as a sport. The first golf club of India was founded in 1829 and named as the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC). It was the oldest golf club in the world outside Great Britain and took care of the governance of the game in India. The number of golf clubs was mushrooming in British-ruled India during the period. The establishment of RCGC paved the way for the foundation of Royal Bombay Golf Club in 1842, the Bangalore Golf Club in 1876, and the Shillong Golf Club in 1886.
The first national-level golf championship in India began in 1892 when the Royal Calcutta Golf Club served as the host to the inaugural All-India Amateur Golf Championship. The tournament has the distinction of being the second oldest tournament in the world, after the British Open (1860). The golf clubs in India operated under the affiliation of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, until the 1950s. In December 1955, a group of veteran golfers established the Indian Golf Union (IGU), which is the controlling body that aims at the promotion and management of golf in India. Affiliated to the World Amateur Golf Council, IGU has helped a great deal in promoting and uplifting the standard of golf in India.
The year 1958 is the turning point in the history of golf in India. It was at this time when the Indian Championship was shifted from the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, to be played alternatively at three venues - Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta. Another development worth mentioning is the commencement of Indian Open tournaments in 1964, which is now held annually in different parts of the country. Golfing in India has traversed a long way since then. A large number of competent Indian golfers have emerged over the passing years. They have excelled in sports and have gained recognition both at the national and international levels.
Over the passing years, with the popularity of golf and a good amount of motivation, some of the golfers have proved to be outstanding. Players including Ali Sher, Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milka Singh, have brought laurels to the country. The golf clubs have also played their part in promoting the game in India. Today, there are as many as 160 golf clubs in India. The country also possesses the world's largest 18-hole golf course, which is situated at Gulmarg, Kashmir. Apart from this, the world's highest 9-hole golf course is also native to India - it is situated in the lap of the Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak of the Himalayas.