The name Sri Lanka comes from the two Sankrit words for “venerable island” and this country of 20 million people lies to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal, separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait. Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was formerly known, gained independence from Britain in 1948 but the nation has enjoyed little stability in recent times as a civil war raged between the government and Tamil Tigers militants from 1983 to 2009.
Cricket is by far the most popular sport in the country but golf does find a place in the affections of both locals and visitors and there are several golf courses to play. Sri Lankans can tee it up at a pair of old classics at Royal Colombo and Nuwara Eliya or at the more modern, Donald Steel-designed, Victoria. A little further from Colombo, on the country’s southeast coast, Hambantota is the latest high-end addition to the island’s golf offerings.