What does it take for a city to be dubbed as a golf destination? Acres of lush green course dotting the city? Citizens passionate about the game? Recurring PGA championships, or 24×7 facilities for swinging the club?
Gurgaon boasts of it all; and what’s more,the Millennium City is emerging as the hub of golf tourism in the country. Gurgaon attracted close to 30,000 golf tourists last year, and the number is increasing by close to 10 per cent annually. This number includes all the walkins and tournament participants who are not members of the clubs. Over the last few years, golf in India has come a long way. From being a game restricted to a handful, golf has grown exponentially in the last decade. Multiple reasons can be attributed to this growth, and one of them is enhanced subscription to the sport, supplemented by an equally encouraging interest shown by media. A fresh lease of life was awarded to the game by the entry of youngsters, and by golf becoming a corporate sport. In fact, the entry of the youth brigade acted like an umbilical connection that would define the future of the game, which now looks promising.
“The lethal combination of golf is the charm granted by three important ingredients – money, youth and media. The perception of the sport as being only for the older generations has been broken. A lot of people are taking up the sport because of the way the game tests the individual’s capabilities to the hilt. On the outside, the sport might look passive, but once the player is on the course, he/ she concentrates on one goal ie. to hit the hole in the best possible manner. It helps in building character as it teaches you to be patient and compete with yourself to better your performance.
“Apart from being good for the mind and body, the sport also brings a premium tag to the neighbourhood. In whichever part of the world where golf courses are set up, the value of realty in the neighbourhood also gets enhanced. At DLF Golf and Country Club,we provide a green environment to society.It is for this reason we have planted around 15,000-20,000 plants inside the golf course and use recycled water,” says Aakash Ohri, Director, DLF Golf Resorts Ltd.
A number of schools are promoting the game too. “In fact, we find a large number of parents making children take up the game as it teaches important values to their growing minds. The Golf Academy at The DLF Golf and Country Club is one of the most premier golf institutions in the country, imparting invaluable golfing skills to budding players of tomorrow. At any point of time, there are around 400 youngsters taking lessons at the club. Here,at the DLF Golf Academy, we use the best of techniques, and employ the best of coaches to ensure that we groom budding talent into world-class golfers of tomorrow”.
In fact, training at our golf course is at par with the coaching that players get in Europe or the USA . Abhinav Lohan and Vani Kapoor are great examples of how capable this academy is in churning out world class pros” adds Ohri.
Today, we are in an era where golf is considered as an aspirational sport. People have started coming up with novel ideas to make the game popular and attractive to the masses. Recently, Ryder Cup winning captain Colin Montgomerie said that concepts such as a shorter version of the game could become more commonplace and golf may need to develop its own version of T20 cricket. “This shows golf is picking up and experts are constantly devising ways to evolve the game to reach newer heights. The present format of golf is popular but then we can’t rule out changes as they’re inevitable,” expresses Ohri.
Then there have been players who have motivated thousands to take up the game. Indian pro golfer Jeev Milkha Singh has performed consistently over the years, and got India international recognition. Another player who has motivated a lot of youngsters to the game is Tiger Woods. He is a living example of how an individual can motivate people around the world.
The list of exemplary golfers will be incomplete if we will not talk about the South African professional golfer, Gary Player. At 76, his passion towards the game is unparalleled. He is among the few who like to give back to the game that gave them recognition. In fact we, at The DLF Golf and Country Club, are soon coming up with a Gary Player Design Golf Course,” puts in Ohri.
In the end, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that golf has all the attractions to make it big – international tournaments, corporate support, financials, glitter and glamour. All in all, the future of the game is surely bright.