Older than any club in the world beyond the British Isles – older, indeed, than most of those in Britain itself – the Royal Calcutta Golf Club has antecedents stretching back to the days when the power of the British Raj was gaining strength, beyond the beginnings of Victoria’s reign. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club was founded in 1829 and first used a site at Dum Dum, where the city’s international airport now stands. After a series of moves, the Dum Dum Golfing Club, as the Royal Calcutta was originally called, settled finally towards the end of the century in the city’s southern suburbs.
The eighteen holes making up the present course are all that survive of the thirty-six the club once possessed but could not afford to keep up. The land farthest from the clubhouse was sold to the Bengal government to provide some much needed recreational space for the refugees who have crowded the club’s boundaries since the partition of Bengal in 1947…
The eighteen holes that now make up Royal Calcutta’s championship course are each a solid par of modern length and difficulty, in a flat parkland setting, with gorgeous trees and innumerable lakes or ponds (known, because they are used to store water, as tanks), drainage channels and gutters. The course can justifiably claim to be the best in the subcontinent.
The profusion of water hazards removes the need for many sand traps and, since they are below ground level, the course at first glance gives the impression of being easy and wide open. Nothing is farther from the truth.
The above extract was written by Peter Thomson and was published in the New World Atlas of Golf.