Monday, 21 September 2015

Scenic Ooty Golf course (1896) one of the oldest and highest in the world -

Ootacamund(Ooty) Golf Course, Ooty. www.indianholiday.com
Golf Course Ooty, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India. www.indianholiday.com

Ooty Golf Course, privately owned by the Gymkhana Club in Ooty in the District of Nilagiri, Tamil Nadu extends over 193.56 acres  and comprises 18 holes. Set at an altitude of 7600 feet, it is one of the highest and oldest golf clubs in the world. Col. Ross Thompson, Executive engineer of the British Raj, in 1889 enchanted by the beautiful scenery, and undulating terrain doted with tall trees   converted the area into a Golf course and founded the Ootacamund  Gymkhana Club in 1896. It was first established in March 1891 by one Colonel Fane Sewell, the then Secretary of the Blue Mountains Tennis and Cricket Club. In the early stage, the course had just nine holes and later in 1896 Golf enthusiasts founded a club called ''the Gymkhana club''  then.  In order to make it fully functional, for the first time in 1929 hydraulic systems were installed to pump water from a nearby stream using a hydraulic ram for storage in a water tank and this was  for the purpose of regularly watering the greens in the golf course. As far back as 1970, feeder pipes were installed  to water the golf course in order to keep it in good shape. 

Part of Rose garden, Ooty, Tamil Nadu. theimperialjourney.com


Surrounded by thick wooded area, the course has many trees
like rhododendron, oak, aromatic eucalyptus that enhance the appearance of the golf course.  The fairways are a bit tough 
and it is a challenge even for an experienced golfer. The unique aspect of this  range is out of 18 holes, nine  are  on blind spots on account of uneven terrain - rolling landscape. So, playing the first  nine holes keeps  the golfer's  anxiety up as he has to take blind shot for every first move. The player can not see the green from the tee off point. There are guide posts  at various places for the right direction from the tee-off area. The toughest one being the fifth hole, which is roughly 200 feet higher than the 4th hole. Yet another hurdle, that is normally  common at higher elevations, is the tendency of the golf ball to travel farther because of prevalence of thin air at higher levels. The light air gives little resistance to the moving ball far above the ground. The golf course is amazingly scenic and breadth-taking, but at the same time quite trying.

A touch of colonial legacy - at the 13 the hole the golfer may be in for a surprise, for he may have to resort to fox hunt!! The player could be bumping into fox hunt in progress, interrupted by the baying of hounds. Even to day Beagles and Foxhounds are still trained  to take part in the hunt. In this area fox hunt dates back to 1847, a colonial era of adventure and sportsmanship. The greens are  well fenced  to prevent other wild animals from straying onto the course. An annual amateur golf championship is held during summer, which dates back to 1906.

 Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ooty_Golf_Course

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