In India you can play golf almost anywhere, for golf is widely played by a cross-section of people in the country's often dramatic background. In the hills and high Himalayan vastness, in metropolitan cities and in small towns, by lakes and forests, or surrounded by tea estates, out in the desert and in old British cantonments... the flavour of India is visible everywhere that golf in the country is played. You can stroll off the course to share a cup of piping hot tea at a 'dhaba', tee off from the highest 18 hole course in the world, watch a peacock dance on a green or play on a course that is enriched by monuments and beautiful buildings. In India anything is possible, and playing golf here will enable you to experience the country in a unique manner.
India was the first country outside of Great Britain to take up the game of golf. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, established in 1829, is the oldest golf club in India, and the first outside Great Britain. With the growing influence of the British in the Indian empire, the eighteenth century saw a mushrooming of new golf clubs in India. Wherever land was available and grass grew, golf found a new home.
The founding of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club in 1829 was followed by the now defunct Royal Bombay. Golf Club in 1842 and the Bangalore Golf Club in 1876. The Shillong Golf Club incorporated a golf course in 1886.
Golf had already been played in India for 59 years before the first major course was opened in the USA and Europe in 1888. By the end of the 19th century, India already had a dozen golf clubs.
Most of lndia's courses are well connected by road, rail, and air, and have excellent accommodation facilities. Unfortunately, India still has to rely on the West for golfing equipment, and visitors are advised to carry their own sets, with an ample supply of golf balls.
Until the 1950's, golf clubs in India were affiliated to the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, which followed the rules of St. Andrews in Scotland. In December, 1955, a group of golfers got together to form the Indian Golf Union as the controlling body for the game. The Indian Golf Union is now affiliated to the World Amateur Golf Council, and has done a great deal to promote golfing in the country. In 1957, it started its first training camp at the Royal in Calcutta, where assistant professionals and caddies were brought from all over the country and trained to teach golf.
Golfing in India has come a long way, and a large number of Indian players now compete on the international circuit. Golf enthusiasts continue to grow in numbers, and new courses are added almost every year.