Golf is a way of life at Gulmarg. At an altitude of 2,650 m, in the heart of the world famous resort, is its rolling golf course, the highest in the world. The historic Gulmarg Golf Club was started in 1911 by the British who used the place as a holiday resort. Since then it has seen over four score years of tournaments of both amateurs and professionals, of men, women and children.
The origin of Gulmarg as the Golfing Mecca of India goes back to the late 19th century when a 6-hole course was made in 1890-91 by Colonel Neville Chamberlain - the greens were known as browns in those days. By 1896, three more holes in the nullah, below Raja Sir Amar Singh's house, were added. In 1901, the Maharaja of Kashmir donated land at Gulmarg for laying out a golf course, which came to be known as the Upper Golf Course. In 1915 a 9-hole course, also known as 'Rabbits Course' was also built. There was a separate 6-hole course for children. By the 1920s the resort was totally covered with golf courses: two 18-hole courses, the ‘Upper Course’ and the ‘Lower’ and one 9-hole middle course, which was more famous as the ‘Rabbits Course’.
The Gulmarg Golf Club
The first Golf championship was played at Gulmarg in 1922. The Nedou's Cup was introduced in 1929. In 1930, ‘The World’ beat Scotland. The same year saw the D.P. Vasu Championship for Women and the Children's Golf Competition. In 1931 the women's foursomes played at Gulmarg on the Lower Course. The Northern India Amateur Golf Championship was played from 1947 to 1953. After the troubled times of 1948 when golfing had come to stand still, the J&K government took over the maintenance of the now 18-hole course. Enthusiasts welcomed the revival of golf in Gulmarg in 1954 when many events, such as Duncan Vase, O.P. Vase, Civil Cup and Nedou’s Cup tournaments were held. Peter Thomson Associates of Australia redesigned and laid out the golf course to fit it with its natural beauty, by changing the location of greens and making it more challenging. The Northern India Championship was played at Gulmarg till 1989 when it had to be shifted to the Delhi Golf Club due to problems in the Valley.
Gulmarg, with its rarefied atmosphere, is natural all the way. As the ball is hit, it 'whistles' its way to the next hole. The turf, since it lies buried six to eight feet under snow for five months of the year, is soft. The greens have a combination of moss and a high variety of grass and natural slopes, which are fast to play on, and the thin air carries the ball further. Golfing at Gulmarg's 18-hole course, with a par of 72, is a unique experience
The Kashmir Golf Club has all the luxuries fitted that make playing golf a memorable experience. It is spread over 52 sprawling acres of lush land adjoining the Maulana Azad Road, the City’s main avenue. Its president, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, is himself a keen golfer.
The Kashmir Golf Course at Srinagar
The Kashmir Golf Club at Srinagar. With well laid out bunkers and hazards, interspersed between chinars & pine is a professional 18-hole course and has been the venue of many tournaments. The course has common fairways and a par of 70. Srinagar offers an exclusive opportunity for golf enthusiasts to play through an extended summer, from April to November. While the plains are boiling, Srinagar's temperate climate allows the golfer to play longer hours without getting tired.
Associated with history of Kashmir Golf Club is its famous pro man of many golfing facets, the 98-year old Ghulam Mohammad. In 1930, he was the first golfing professional in India. He has trained hundreds of aspiring golfers during his long career as a golfing pro. Ghulam Mohammad started life as a fore caddy in the early years of this century. Later, he went on to play to a scratch handicap for 30 years. Through time, he trained famous golfers of India: the late Billoo PG Sethi, the late Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir, the late Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and J.S Pathak. He has also trained Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah who began playing golf since the age of 12, and today is living up to his teacher’s name. According to Ghulam Mohammad, "golf is like an addiction. You can’t have enough of it."
Royal spring Golf Course
Spanning an expense of 300 acres near the famous Cheshma Shahi, The Royal Springs Golf Course is open to general public.
The Golf Course was designed and laid out by the World renowned Golf architect, Robert Trent Jones Jr. II, who has designed about 500 courses all over the World, including in Bangkok and China.
The Golf course picturesque located over looking the famous Dal Lake, is set in a natural environment created against the dramatic backdrop of Zabarwan hills. The setting is a combination of aesthetic delight and golfing pleasure and is a truly transcending experience of the Golfer and nature lover alike. The 118 holes, 6445 mtrs. Course at a par of 72 offer a challenge to all levels of players.
The fairways are turfed with coolweather grass of different Shades. Rye, Kentucky blue and tall frescoes have been bordering trees lend a touch of colour throughout the golfing season.