Golf in Kodaikanal
Golfing in Kodaikanal is worth experiencing…..truly such a golfing experience is hard to get and once you’ve been there the experience lingers in the memory.
Kodaikanal is a hill station located in Tamil Nadu at a distance of about 500 odd kms from Bangalore. It is said that the highway between the two cities is quite well maintained and the distance can be covered within 7-8 hours of driving…I haven’t tried it but some people who have experienced it highly recommend it.
Like the BGC (Bangalore Golf Club) the KGC (Kodaikanal Golf Club) is almost an institution in itself and is over 117 years old said to be founded by a team of avid golfers in 1985. The course is located about 8 kms away from the city in a quiet and serene atmosphere surrounded by hills and forests.
The Kodai Golf Club nestling 7000ft. above sea level in the Palani Hills with cool breezes blowing off the cliff face can turn a par three hole from an easy nine iron to a hard four, with descending mist that makes you listen to know where your ball lands.
The entire course is located on the sides of the hills and along with a good game of golf one can expect a serious and sometimes strenuous trek from the tee off to the green on almost all the holes. It is a 18 hole course covering about 150 acres of land….the kind of area that I like for a reasonable golf course.
The club house is quite decent though there is nothing flamboyant about it….a decent sized lounge with a bar attached, a billiard room, dining hall and about 10 rooms. They claim to have a practice net but it’s hardly worth any consideration. Check their website for details http://www.kodaigolf.com/home.htm
Surprisingly we found empty beer bottles on the greens and it can come as quite a bit of a shocker to any golfer….I mean which golf loving person could drink on the course or leave behind the empty bottles on the greens. Our caddies inform us that the bottles were deliberately put there to keep the crows away as they have had bitter experiences of these birds spoiling the greens. So, what do the bottles do? Well, apparently they give the feeler to the crows that there are people around so they keep away from the greens. I’m not the person to debate on this but if its effective then why not? Now I don’t know what would the rules say if the ball was to deflect off the bottle and bounce off the green…..this could be a possibility even though the caddies move ahead to remove the bottles before you reach the green.
Some of the holes have interesting names, depending on the challenges that they offer to golfers. The 4th hole is also called the Devil’s Dip, as the fairway from the tee-box to the green is a solid dip, which runs on as far as the eye can see. The 12th hole is called the Cardiac Hole, due to the strenuousness of the walk. The 15th hole which has the longest yardage of 587 yards needs two long and straight shots to even sight the green. The 14th tee off borders at the jungle and we saw a herd of some mean looking bison’s just about 100 feet away from the tee box….there is a fencing to keep the bison’s safe from the golfers….sorry ! the other way round. The bison’s have been known to stray onto the golf course and the greens are protected by nets to avoid damage by their hooves.
The membership is small at about 600 and I guess there is not too much money coming in to allow for construction of fairways (hence they allow you to take a lie) but the greens are pretty well maintained thanks to the effort of the members and the caddies who take pride in being a part of this historic course. The caddies there are very pleasing to deal with unlike those in KGA.
It is a pleasure to have an opportunity to play at the KGC and it is truly an experience that one does not forget easily. If you have a chance to visit Kodaikanal don’t forget to pack your golf kit along with you.