David McLay Kidd designed the course at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort in 1999 and it is the first 18-hole Nepalese layout. Set against the backdrop of the majestic snow capped Himalayan Mountains; the course is routed through a section of the ancient Gokarna Forest where many of the stately trees date back some 200 years.
From the black tees – there are four sets of tees – Gokarna Forest stretches out to 6,755 yards. It’s not the longest course in Asia but it is of sufficient length and challenge to host the Surya Nepal Masters which attracts many of the leading pros from India and Pakistan.
Gokarna Forest opens up in a most inviting manner from an inviting elevated tee with the mountains as the backcloth. The opener and the next three holes take you deep into the forest before you finally emerge from the valley and into a flat plain created by the holy Bhagmati River. From here at the 5th, the course takes on an entirely different but equally absorbing look and feel. The 8th is one of Asia’s most challenging par threes that measures whopping 225 yards from the tips. The unusual crescent shaped green wraps its way around an enormous sleeper faced bunker that dominates the perspective and a series of crisscrossing streams make this one-shotter even more daunting.
If you are lucky enough to visit Nepal and play here at Gokarna Forest, keep a look out for the mischievous monkeys as you wander through the forest and, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the coy chital deer which roam freely or even an Indian Flying Fox gliding from tree to tree. Undoubtedly a round at Gokarna Forest is an enchanting and totally unforgettable experience. In fact it’s sheer delight.
January 15, 2012