Opened for play in 2000, Jaypee Greens is Greg Norman’s first – and, so far, only – Indian design. Intended as the golfing centrepiece of a 430-acre residential development that lies an hour’s drive from New Delhi city centre via the Greater Noida Expressway, the course is one of the longest in the country, measuring 7,347 from the tips.
As is often the case on relatively flat, featureless sites, a number of lakes were excavated to provide soil for contouring the fairways so water comes into play at more than half the holes on the card. Almost a hundred bunkers, many of them constructed in the style of those found on Melbourne’s sand belt courses, provide further hazards.
Fairways are grassed with a specially imported Bermuda Evergreen grass that was chosen for its performance and superior playing characteristics and non-playing areas were populated with tracts of woodland, wetland and scrubland, giving the course the natural feel of a private haven set apart from the hustle and bustle outside.
The 407-yard 4th is a rather daunting right doglegged hole, where water runs along the right side of the fairway and virtually surrounds the green. On the back nine, the par three at the 12th is especially long and tough and the 13th is a long par five featuring an island fairway with alternative routes to the green.The fourth and final edition of the now defunct Avantha Masters was held here in 2013, when Thomas Aiken of South Africa won by three strokes from Gaganjeet Bhullar with an aggregate total of 265, 23 under par.
Jaypee Greens Golf Resort is the first Greg Norman signature course ever built in India. I’m sure he must have thought when offered the task, “what am I going to do with this flat featureless site?” He had to have felt like Pete Dye when he was asked to design the famed TPC Sawgrass course in Florida from a stagnate swampland. Instead of building dams to pump out the water as Dye did, the Norman team had to excavate over 24 acres to create 14 man-made ponds and lakes. They then fed them with purified recycled water to be able to irrigate the entire property. The excess earth was eventually relocated to build gentle rolling fairways with 88 bunkers. What Norman created is an oasis in the city and as he said “a design that is challenging, playable and creates a memorable golf experience for players of all skill levels”. At 7,347 yards Jaypee Greens is one of the longest in Asia. It offers wide receptive fairways but beware there are a number of risk/reward shots plus water is evident on almost every hole. Spread over 197 acres, the new landscaping property includes a considerable amount of trees and scrubs along with wetlands and wild-grassed areas. My only negative is that the greens are small and very inconsistent. I thought the par 4, 9th hole is the most difficult as water comes into play down the entire right side and your approach shot is to a peninsula green. The most unique feature about this course is that 9 holes are lighted at night. To read more about golf in Asia visit Dave Finn's website at http://golftravelandleisure.com/category/asia/