Naldehra golf course, one of India’s oldest, to get a makeover

July 17th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Naldehra (Himachal Pradesh), July 17 (IANS) Set in a picturesque glade at a height of 2,044 metres, a century-old nine-hole golf course in the Himalayan foothills in northern India is set for a complete makeover to bring it up to international standards. The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC), which runs the golf course, has conceptualised a Rs.50 million ($1.2 mn) project to add to its fairways and greens and add other facilities to attract high-end tourists, especially foreigners.

There are even plans to construct a helipad at Naldehra, 22 km from state capital Shimla, and to operate helicopter services to the golf course from the Annandale helipad here.

“Over the years, golf has emerged as the most vital segment of the tourism industry and we are working overtime to get our share of the pie,” HPTDC managing director Ram Subhag Singh told IANS.

The golf course owes its existence to Lord Curzon, who, when he was Viceroy, fell in love with the place and decided to develop the huge natural glade, surrounded by cedars, into a golf course. So enchanted was Curzon by the place that he gave his daughter Alexandra “Naldehra” as her second name.

As part of the re-development, work is under way to realign the Shimla-Tattpani state highway that winds its way through the golf course. The highway will now skirt the golf course and its length will be about 1.30 km.

The HPTDC has already acquired a large chunk of land adjacent to the golf course for developing additional greens and fairways.

The department has invited golf course designers to suggest how the re-development should take place.

Toward this end, Col K.D. Bagga (retd), a Delhi-based golf course designer, visited Naldehra recently “and gave us valuable suggestions”, Singh said.

Though Naldehra is a nine-hole course, it can also be played as an 18-hole course on the reverse. The sixth hole is the longest at 370 yards and the fifth is the shortest at 115 yards.

“The landscape of the course makes the game challenging. I come here every year to play golf,” said Jaskaran Singh Batth, an avid golfer from Muzaffarnagar town in Uttar Pradesh.

He has been playing golf here at Naldehra for more than three decades.

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