Older than any club in the world beyond the British Isles – older, indeed, than most of those in Britain itself – the Royal Calcutta Golf Club has antecedents stretching back to the days when the power of the British Raj was gaining strength, beyond the beginnings of Victoria’s reign. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club was founded in 1829 and first used a site at Dum Dum, where the city’s international airport now stands. After a series of moves, the Dum Dum Golfing Club, as the Royal Calcutta was originally called, settled finally towards the end of the century in the city’s southern suburbs.
The eighteen holes making up the present course are all that survive of the thirty-six the club once possessed but could not afford to keep up. The land farthest from the clubhouse was sold to the Bengal government to provide some much needed recreational space for the refugees who have crowded the club’s boundaries since the partition of Bengal in 1947…
The eighteen holes that now make up Royal Calcutta’s championship course are each a solid par of modern length and difficulty, in a flat parkland setting, with gorgeous trees and innumerable lakes or ponds (known, because they are used to store water, as tanks), drainage channels and gutters. The course can justifiably claim to be the best in the subcontinent.
The profusion of water hazards removes the need for many sand traps and, since they are below ground level, the course at first glance gives the impression of being easy and wide open. Nothing is farther from the truth.
The above extract was written by Peter Thomson and was published in the New World Atlas of Golf.
A green parkland course built in the early 20th century, you could easily be forgiven for thinking you are in the home counties of England. The clubhouse and overall ambience oozes history and character, and transports you back to the Victorian era.
The course itself plays through flat mature parkland with a number of water hazards (complete with local kids crabbing). Finding the correct side of the fairway is important as trees strategically guard the greens. It's not long by modern championship standards, but still has plenty of length to test amateurs. Well worth playing for the history and chance to escape the dust, hustle and bustle of Calcutta.
Played this course a few years ago now so this might be out of date now. The course was very enjoyable but the sense of history was tremendous. There were old fans over the bar area and the tees were being cut by push hand mowers. On one hole a young lad came out of the bush and dived into a murky pond to search for my ball that had disappeared there. Fantastic experience. Love to go back.
I'm afraid the reviewer has mixed up the provenance of the course with the origins of the club. The club was certainly founded in 1829 but its course dates back to 1910, when the club moved to its current location. Peter Thomson and Commander John Harris are credited with redesigning this layout in 1972, when the club's former 36-hole layout became the 18-hole course in play today.