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​Top 20 Golf Courses of India 2017

16 December, 2016
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Top 20 Golf Courses of India 2017

We create new regional listings then expand and re-rank our national chart for India

We start this new release with a public apology: due to a complete oversight, we didn’t re-rank our Indian listings two years ago when we should have so this is only the third revision of the listings that we first established back in 2009. Not that anybody pointed this out to us, right enough, so we could probably have got away with such a lapse, but honesty’s always the best policy, of course.

To make up for such an unintentional error, we decided this year to double the size of our national chart to a Top 20 and to introduce four regional ranking tables that now allow us to feature a total of thirty Indian courses. So, from every bad situation something positive can occur and we hope that we’ve redeemed ourselves somewhat with that gesture to extend our coverage of Indian courses.

We were able to do this by calling on a number of golf industry insiders within India who know the golfing lie of the land and have been around most, if not all, of the top tracks, both traditional and modern. In particular, we’re indebted to Vijit Nandrajog, our new Indian correspondent, a man who is heavily involved with several national associations in various facets of the golf business in India.

So to our new Top 20 for India, where the big news is that our new number 1 is a brand new entry that leaps straight into the top spot. As if that’s not enough to contend with, our former number 1 disappears entirely in a totally unprecedented move, because it’s been reduced from an 18-hole championship layout to what now amounts to a 9-hole relief course.

The Nicklaus Design course at Kalhaar Blues & Greens in Ahmedabad, only the second layout that the Golden Bear’s design company has built in India, is our number 1, replacing the Arnold Palmer course at DLF which drops out of the chart completely. It’s one of the longest and toughest layouts in the country and it’s already forging a tournament pedigree through hosting the Ahmedebad Masters.

Incredibly, we have another new entry in the runner-up position at number 2 and it’s the DLF (Gary Player) course in Gurugram, the new 18-hole layout that used nine of the former Arnold Palmer holes when it was constructed during 2015. It remains to be seen if this new layout will enjoy the tournament success of its predecessor, which hosted a couple of recent European Tour events.

The biggest climber in our revised chart is the Robert Trent Jones Jnr course at Royal Springs in Srinager, rising five places to number 4. Set out within a thickly forested property in the foothills of the Zabarwan Hills, this layout enjoys an idyllic setting close to Chashme Shahi, one of the 17th century Mughal walled gardens, where the course is operated by the local tourist board.

Two other modern tracks make modest upward moves. Greg Norman’s Jaypee Greens in Greater Noida (up one to number 5) was unveiled in 2000 and it’s still the Great White Shark’s only Indian design. The Nicklaus Design 27-hole layout at the Classic Golf Resort (up one to number 6) debuted two years earlier and the Ridge and Valley nines form the 18-hole course of first choice here.

Contemporary designs don’t have it all their own way because a couple of old established courses also rise up the updated standings: Delhi Golf Club’s 18-holeLodhi course, where the Indian Open was held two years ago, nudges up one place to number 3, and Royal Calcutta’s course, redesigned by John Harris and Peter Thomson in the early 1970s, clambers up two spots to number 8.

Kaziranga in our eastern region just missed out on our new Indian chart on this occasion. Owned by B&A Ltd, whose business activity is the cultivation and manufacture of “black tea,” the course is set out around a beautiful 125-year-old heritage bungalow known as Burra Sahib’s Bungalow, built from imported steel from the UK, which now acts as a charming old clubhouse for the golf club.

Clover Greens in our southern region also came close to making the Top 20 cut. Fashioned by Pacific Coast Design and opened for play in 2009, this modern facility is a popular weekend golfing destination for players in and around Bengaluru. In addition to its top-rated course, the club also boasts a two-tier driving range for those who want a proper warm up before taking to the fairways.

Finally, Chandigarh didn’t quite make the leap from our new northern regional chart to the national listings this time around. With floodlights on the front nine holes to extend play into the evening, golfers take the game seriously at this club, none more so than local pro Jeev Milkha Singh, the most prolific Indian golfer ever on the European Tour, who still plays at the club when he’s at home.

Looking ahead, Phil Ryan from Pacific Coast Design, who has worked on more than twenty projects in India over the last two decades, tells us he has three courses due to open next year: two new enterprises in Kolkata (Calcutta Riverside GC) and Hyderabad (Vooty GC) plus the renovation of the layout at Kashmir Golf Club in Srinagar which was badly damaged by flooding in September 2014.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on these ventures, along with many other golf construction activities taking place around the country, throughout the next twenty-four months. Now that we have Vijit Nandrajog as part of the Top 100 Team, we’re confident our man in the field will keep us right on top of things, enabling us to bring you news of interesting course developments as they occur.

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To view further details of the Top 20 Golf Courses in India click the link.

We always like to know what you think of our re-ranked national listings so if you’d like to get in touch regarding our newly enlarged Indian Top 20 then feel free to click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page to give us your opinion.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses

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