The Eastern India region covers a vast area of more than 680,000 square kilometres, where an estimated population of 270 million people live within thirteen states and territories. Kolkata, which changed back to its original name from Calcutta in 2001, is the main educational, cultural and commercial centre in the region and it’s here that golf first took root outside of the United Kingdom.
The birthplace of golf in the subcontinent was Calcutta in 1829 and it seems that British Army officers and expatriates formed the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (there are no formal records available prior to 1874) which was originally named Dum Dum Golfing Club. The club then moved to the Maidan for a short time before relocating to its present site in the leafy southern suburb of Tollygunge in 1910.
Today, there are around twenty clubs in East India affiliated to the Indian Golf Union. Tollygunge is one of the better tracks, dating as far back as 1895, and it’s a short, tight layout that features old-fashioned design traits such as double greens and shared fairways. Pacific Coast Design has worked there in recent years, reviewing and updating both green complexes and bunkers.
Other courses of note include the hill station of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya (originally built as a 9-holer in 1898 then extended to 18 holes in 1924) and Digboi in the northeast state of Assam (as far east in India that you can play golf) – this 1930s 18-hole layout was carved from the Deihing forest, which is home to a variety of wild animals including elephants, boars and even leopards.