Gulmarg also has one of the world's highest green golf courses, as
well as a clubhouse, which is a historical building in its own right.
For the would-be golfer, there are golf sets on hire, pros to instruct
one in the game, and temporary memberships. Naturally, these
facilities are available to players as well, except that serious
golfers usually carry their sets along.
For a fun filled ride of a most unusual kind, Gulmarg's newly
constructed Gondola lift from high above Gulmarg, through pine clad
slopes, is exhilarating.
Established in the early days of
the British rule by Sir Neville Chamberlain, K.C.B., the Gulmarg Golf
Club has attracted golfers for almost a century. It .is almost as if
god intended a golf course at Gulmarg when he created it: a lush green
bowl covered with a variety of alpine flowers and crises crossed by
snow fed streams and rivulets; gently undulating slopes carpeted with
a natural mossy turf, and a crisply cool bracing weather! What more
could a golfer ask for?
Redesigned by the famous golf
architect, Peter Thompson, Gulmarg now has a 6,760 yards, par 72, 18
hole golf course. The highest course in the world, it also boasts of
India's longest hole, a par five, 610 yards. Unlike most of the other
par-fives on the Gulmarg course, the eighth plays much longer than its
610 yards because of the uphill factor. The green course includes not
only the pre-defined rivulets, streams and ponds, but also herds of
sheep which eliminate the need for lawn mowers and keep the fairways
in top condition. A golfer at Gulmarg also has to beware of the local
crow which does not hesitate before taking off with a ball from the
fairway, presumably mistaking it for an egg.
The most interesting and trying
hole on the Gulmarg course is undoubtedly the 17th. Although not very
long, it calls for some precise hitting to land on the green which is
precariously placed on the edge of a cliff. The 18th hole, a par five,
is an exhilarating experience. It's downhill travel from St. Mary's
Church to the club house, a drop of 300 feet. The Gulmarg Golf Club is
well equipped to handle the holiday golfer and arrange for the
services of caddies and coaches; golf sets can also be hired at very
reasonable rates. Amenities at the club include a bar, library,
lounge, table tennis, lawn tennis and a putting green. The Gulmarg
course is usually open between April and November, as it is covered by
snow for the rest of the year and its gentle slopes are transformed
into mini ski runs for beginners.