The sport of Golf is gaining momentum in India with a breezy pace. Bounded by natural prettiness with green grass all around, the country boasts some of world's best Golf courses.
Emerging trend of playing golf among the youth has motivated the government and private players to improve infrastructure including golf courses of international standards and trained manpower. The government is now keen to exploit golf tourism in its true potential, and aims to promote Golf for the development of overall ecosystem of tourism.
"We are grateful to the Ministry of Tourism who have initiated a Golf Tourism Policy - how to promote India as a golf tourism destination. In India, we have beautiful golf courses; right from Jammu and Kashmir to Deep South we have one of the best golf courses in the world. Golf needs a good weather, and in India, out of 365 days, almost 324 days are sunny, which are very rare in the world. So, that is very important for golf," said Rajan Sehgal, President, India Golf Tourism Association.
India has about 220 golf courses, in which 25 are signature golf courses which are at par with international standards. Many private resorts and golf courses are providing its guests the world's best dining, open-air Jacuzzis along with the golfing facilities.
One such property is the nine-acre large Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort, located on the outskirts of the national capital. Designed by veteran golfer Greg Norman, the resort promises some of the most stunning views of the beautiful 18-hole golf course. It attracts many foreign tourists who love to spend their time by playing golf along with dining.
"Jay Pee is one of the most beautiful golf courses. It's easy to come and play here as a guest, and as a visitor. For me, it is very comfortable because it is near to Delhi and the level and quality of the course is very high. I have seen lot of course in the world and I think it's one of the best in India," said Alexander, a tourist from Russia.
To promote golf culture and attract tourists, over 100 new golf courses are required in the country. It will not only help attract tourists and generate revenue for the state, but also open new job opportunities for the youth.
India Golf Tourism Association has plans to train caddies to guide foreign golfers and make them aware about other tourist attractions.
"We are also working with the Ministry of Tourism on a skill development basis as to how to train these caddies, because when you go to Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia, their caddies are so professionally trained that it's an attraction. In India also, we are training some caddies; not only about golf, but when they are helping foreign golfers during the course for around four and half yeurs, they should tell them about the city also," said Rajan.
Vikram Sethi is a well-known golf coach who foresees a bright future for golf in India. He believes an aggressive promotion will help attract world golfers to the country.
"We do have potential to be golf tourism country, though a lot needs to be done. But, to say it's not possible would be wrong. We have excellent golf courses all over the country. In the north, Delhi being the city which has maximum number of courses, then south - Bangalore has very good courses, Pune has very good courses. East might be little weak, but we have one of the oldest Royal Calcutta Club. So we have golf all around the country, it's just the question of being able to promote it," added Vikram Sethi, a Golf coach.
With golf courses spreading to every nook and corner of India and the growing popularity of the sport backed by sightseeing of the sports - Golf enthusiasts are looking forward to visiting India for a holiday that goes beyond tees and greens.