Golf Courses in Kathmandu & Pokhara
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around the cities of Nepal
The Himalayan Golf Club: Jewel in the Super Bowl! Built along-side the Bijayapur River which meanders way below through this ‘Super Bowl of Patan’ – a huge hundred-meter deep gorge-theatre with vertical walls a hundred-meter apart at points, The Himalayan ranks as one of the most interesting and hardest if not unique in feature by many golf reviewers! The course starts with the tame first two holes on flat beside the club house; good for a quick warm up. The next t-box however sits at the very edge of the cliff and commands a majestic view of the entire theatre with greens of the various holes down under dotting both sides of the river giving an impression that one could perhaps easily course-manage from such a vantage point! The Par-4 third tees off to the fairway some three quarters of the way down the bowl and the less than roller-coaster-smooth ‘magical mystery tour’ down and up and, down and up…the various levels of play begins! (NO buggies!) Some regard Hole-6 with an island green as the most special, but a day with Club senior officials, the two retired Gurkha Majors of the British Army and B Gurung, on their Annual Club Championship Day convinces that it is the ‘magical mystery tour’ feature of the course that more characterizes rather than the mere ruggedness of the surrounding – that the course is physically and technically more demanding is a foregone conclusion. Good judgement for distance in different elevations (and therefore the correct selection of clubs, hopefully) is absolute! Good ball control skill will help much in placing on the wide, sloping and border less fairways as well as keeping the ball on the relatively small but as much curvy and often with island-in-the-air greens. The play at the bottom of this big bowl ends at the 15th. following which a walk-up on sharp climb to the 16th. will likely ‘take one’s breath away’. Deliberate or otherwise, here’s a little mischievous in course design: Most players would normally t-off on reaching and likely forgetting that one should preferably insistently do it well after ‘catching the breath back’; chances are as a result judgement and swing would likely be less than satisfactory, what more with cliff-drop on one side all the way to the small green of albeit only a Par-3 hole, it’s no less confidence-testing than the much touted island green of
Hole 6! The general wisdom is not to let the ‘back biting’ flight push you when you get to the t-box…even if it was only a pack of holy cows! If not it may be a bit difficult to ‘think straight’ on a less than leveled t-box while gasping for more of the oxygen-less air for an otherwise a simple straight shot to the green. By the way most greens are protected by light and low barbed-wire fence to keep the cows away; you’ll never be more alert with flight path control until here and…perhaps be enlightened that there are more out there who also know where greener pastures exist! If you get the chance to do it, the jewel’s yours!
Yeti Golf Club: Jewel in the Air?
Gokarna Forest Resort Golf Club If lush green all around is what you’d conjure of a nice golf course to play on, this is it! This Par-72 6,715-yard David Kidd-designed course spreads gently over rolling hills with matured trees lining the ‘OB’ areas while all edges along the fairways are immaculately trimmed giving an all-enveloped effect of playing in a huge ‘green house’ with open top. The fairways are generous, greens are large and there aren’t too many visible obstacles except for the small stream that snakes across. On a bright, sunny day, the commanding view from the club house will give an impression of a beautiful and forgiving course all ready for an afternoon ‘walk in the park’! But, where deception ends, subtlety kicks in! The Par-3 Hole-8 is typical where if you don’t make it to the green straight, that seemingly gentle slope in front of the green will more than frightfully have the ball rolled off to somewhere hard to retrieve. And there are many more of such ‘gentle’ slopes that one would find hard to determine whether they make good and safe landing spots. Elsewhere, Par-4s Hole-12 and -13 make a change from the pack with high t-offs to lower ground. Again, the gentle roll of the fairways remains as deceiving viewed from any angle. If there’s more to this course, the club house sits strategically atop the hill with the open area offering a sweeping view of the valley with trees and fairways down below. It’s perfect for an after-game drinks…to admire the beauty of the place, to sulk over how you should’ve won and…perhaps indulge in a little gossip of who’s that grand old man around – a legendary Punjabi, born and bred in Siam, schooled in Singapore, sought creativity in Kathmandu and carved out a beauty like Gokarna!
Royal Nepal Golf Club The RNGC is the grand old man of golf courses in Nepal. Typical of the time, it was built as a social meeting place for ‘Who’s Who’ in Kathmandu and it counted on Nepal’s Royal Family of the time and foreign dignataries as regular visitors. Today, with the introduction of other new and modern courses, it retains it’s original integrity and aura of a club of the time, albeit with the royal patronage no longer in existence. Located just next to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, it remains a 9-hole course that snugly fits in between the hills at the northern end of the runway and the suburbs in the vicinity of the airport. The course follows the contour of the hill slope and the fairways line both sides of a small stream outlining the foot of the hill. At some points clear tree-lines demarcate the fairways but mostly the sloping terrain provide a wide, sweeping area for landing.