The Royal Springs Golf Course is set out in the foothills of the Zabarwan Hills – close to Chashme Shahi, one of the 17th century Mughal gardens – and it’s a public golf facility operated by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation. It was the first, and thus far only, Indian 18-hole layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr when it debuted in 2001.
Carved from a heavily wooded landscape consisting of imported cork oak trees planted by the last ruling Maharaja, the course extends to 7,000 yards in length but, in the thinner atmosphere at an altitude of almost 9,000 feet where balls fly a lot further, that hefty overall yardage equates to only around 6,300 yards at sea level.
A wide variety of bird life can be spotted on the course including kites at the 9th and 18th as they feast on fish that populate the ponds adjoining these holes close to the clubhouse. The signature hole on the card is the par three 5th, where the tee is positioned at the highest point on the course, treating golfers to panoramic views across the sparkling waters of nearby Dal Lake.