Top 100 Golf Courses updates its South Asia rankings

09 April 2020 Respond to this article

Top 100 Golf Courses updates its South Asia rankings

Last month, we published the first of three Asian chart releases for China, Japan and South Korea, under the banner of East Asia. This article covers the South Asian countries of India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and our final narrative for the continent later this month will report on half a dozen of the most significant golfing nations in Southeast Asia.

But first, we take a closer look at the massive geographic region that’s also known as the Indian subcontinent, where around 1.8 billion people live within an area extending to almost two million square miles, surrounded on its southern sides by the mighty Indian Ocean. The British Army brought the game to these parts in the days of the British Empire and that legacy lives on to the present day.


India

The Royal & Ancient game was formally established at Calcutta Golf Club in 1829, making it one of the oldest golf societies in the world. The Royal charter was then awarded after a visit by King George V and Queen Mary in 1911, the year after the club moved to its present location at Tollygunge, so golfing tradition in this diverse country goes back a very long way.

We're very grateful for input from our correspondent in India, Vijit Nandrajog, who has played every course on our Indian contender list and many more besides.

Half the courses in our new Top 20 remain in the same chart position as last time, including those in the top three places, which means the Gary Player course at DLF Golf & Country Club outside Delhi retains its status as India’s #1 layout. Reconfigured by Gary Player’s design company in 2015, the new 18-hole course has hosted the last three editions of the Indian Open, which is a co-sanctioned event on both the Asian Tour and the European Tour.

DLF Golf & Country Club - Player course

DLF Golf & Country Club - Player course

The first of two new entries in our Indian chart arrives in the top half of the table at No. 9 and it’s the mountain course at Ootacamund Gymkhana Club in the state of Tamil Nadu, set at an altitude of 7,200 feet above sea level. Ooty, as it’s commonly called, serves as an officer training centre for the Indian Army so many of the nation’s golfers are familiar with its layout and quite a few ex-service personnel return here every year with very fond memories of previous playing experiences.

Ootacamund Gymkhana Club

Ootacamund Gymkhana Club

Vijit commented as follows: "Ooty is one of my favourite courses in India, purely from a standpoint of enjoyment, fun and experience. The course is unique in so many ways; I don’t think any other course (except maybe Kodaikanal) can provide Indians with a taste of what true, raw, pure golf is. Also, the land is beautiful, ground is rough and rugged and it’s the only place in India where you will see gorse on the course – and a tiger sighting recently!"

The biggest upward move in our rankings is a 6-place climb made by the course at Hyderabad Golf Association (up to #12), which David Hemstock and Simon Gidman have both worked on for the last few years. David gave us a status report on the HGA remodelling project at the end of 2018 and we understand things have progressed well since then.

Hyderabad Golf Association

Hyderabad Golf Association


Rank/ Course Move
1 DLF (Gary Player) No change
2 Delhi (Lodhi) No change
3 Kalhaar Blues & Greens No change
4 Jaypee Greens Up 1
5 Classic (Ridge & Valley) Up 1
6 Karnataka Up 2
7 Royal Calcutta No change
8 Royal Springs Down 4
9 Ootacamund Gymkhana New entry
10 Prestige Golfshire Up 1
11 Boulder Hills Up 3
12 Hyderabad Up 6
13 Bombay Presidency No change
14 Oxford Golf & Country Club. Down 5
15 Golden Greens No change
16 Tollygunge No change
17 Eagleton No change
18 Kensville New entry
19 Chandigarh No change
20 Panchkula No change


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 20 Golf Courses of India click the link.


Nepal

According to the Nepal Golf Association, there are six courses currently in operation around the country and we feature two of them. Himalayan Golf Course is our new Nepalese #1, built largely by hand over a five-year period in the 1990s by a small team of dedicated local people working with Major Ram Garung, a former officer with the Brigade of Gurkahs in the British Army.

Himalayan Golf Course

Himalayan Golf Course

Architect Ron Fream discovered this place a while back but Tom Doak has since taken on the mantle of its most influential proponent, selecting it as one of eighteen Gourmet Choice layouts in Volume 5 of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses . As he says in the book, “this is not just a golf course, but a trek in the mountains, with a sherpa-like caddie alongside… you have to see this course sometime in your life.”

Rank/ Course Move
1 Himalayan Up 1
2 Gokarna Forest. Down 1


To view the two entries in our Nepal listings click the link.


Pakistan

There’s very little movement in our Top 5 for Pakistan so the Blue and Red nines at Karachi Golf Club hold onto the #1 slot at the top of the standings. The club dates back to 1888 but it moved to its present site in the early 1950s, leasing a neglected 9-hole course from the Ministry of Defence. Peter Harradine was called in to substantially develop the layout in the early 1990s and he fashioned three 9-hole circuits, with the Blue and Red loops forming the championship 18-hole course.

Karachi Golf Club

Karachi Golf Club

Work continues on the new Signature course from Faldo Design outside the city of Multan in southern Punjab. Commissioned by the local Defence Housing Authority, the development lies on a naturally sandy site that will feature “a linksy shaping theme,” according to lead architect Andy Haggar. Expect to see indigenous mud-clad buildings and fruit tree plantations incorporated into the design “to create a real sense of place” when the layout is unveiled next year.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Karachi (Blue & Red) No change
2 Islamabad (Old) Up 1
3 Royal Palm Down 1
4 Rawalpindi No change
5 Defence Authority - Karachi. No change


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 5 Golf Courses of Pakistan click the link.


Sri Lanka

Our rankings for Sri Lanka remain much as they were, except for the addition of Rodney Wright’s new resort course at Hambantota, which is a new entry at #4. Because the other three courses retain the same position in the new chart, Victoria Golf & Country Resort in Rajawella holds on to the #1 spot.

Victoria Golf & Country Resort

Victoria Golf & Country Resort

Developed in the late 1990s, the course is set within a former coconut plantation in the spectacular Kandyan mountain range, next to the Victoria reservoir, with tree-lined fairways threading their way across a densely wooded landscape. It’s a tough test of golf, far removed from what you might normally expect to play at a golf resort, and it’s also one that you’ll never forget in a hurry either.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Victoria No change
2 Nuwara Eliya No change
3 Royal Colombo. No change
4 Hambantota New entry


To view the four entries in our Sri Lanka listings click the link.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses