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Nepal is famous not only for its mountains and natural beauty but also because of different modes of entertainment including the sporting events. One of such sports which attract tourists to Nepal is Golf. Though popular among the upmarket tourists, not many know about its history in Nepal. From this week, we will serialise the history and feature the different golf courses of Nepal for the benefit of the readers.
History of Golf in Nepal
Golf in Nepal began in 1917 with Rana Prime Minister’s delegation returned from Scotland with some golf clubs. Started playing at Gaucharan, where the present Tribuvan Intenational Airport runway is located. Golf of those days were Rana Generals like, Gen Babar Shumsher and Gen Lava Shumsher. It is believed that they had 18 holes at that time, with sand and oil/tar based greens (so called browns). Some golf tournaments were initiated at that time.The Lava cup was started in mid 1920's. The golf course at Gaucharan got shortened once airplanes started landing in Kathmandu in 1955 as the runway occupied half of it's land. Those days even King Tribhuwan and members of the Royal family used to play golf occasionally. Prince Basundhara was a keen golfer.
Gen Kiran Shumsher established the same golf course by naming it Gauchar Golf Club in late fifties. Gauchar Golf Club received Royal patronage from King Mahendra o; the Club was inaugurated on 5th September, 1965, and since then it has been named Royal Nepal Golf Club (RNGC). Prince Basundhara became president and held presidency until 1978. Golfers in those days were mostly expatriates, diplomats and from the Shah and Rana families.
Dharan Country Club was established by British Gorkhas in Dharan in late sixties. The course had 9 holes and grass greens (not browns).
All the land of RNGC was occupied by Civil Aviation to expand the Airport in 1982. There were no golf courses in the Kathmandu valley for over a year. The only golf course remaining in the country was the Dharan Country Club. RNGC was revived in Tilganga on Pashupati Development Trust land 1983. It had only 6 par 3's holes and golfers used to play it thrice to complete the requisite 18 holes.
Gokarna Safari Golf Club was established at Rajnikunj Gokarna in Kathmandu in 1984. Nine holes with browns (not greens) were made. RNGC expands up to 9 holes 8 par 3’s and one par 4.
Nepal Golf Association was established in 1984 itself.
RNGC got land from Civil Aviation in 1986 and built 6 new holes and used 3 old holes.
In 1988, first Bermuda greens were made at RNGC.
First Professional/International tournament was held in Nepal in 1993. The "Surya Nepal Open" at RNGC commenced and was held yearly thereafter. Crown Prince Dipendra gave his patronage to RNGC. Gokarna Safari Golf Club ceased to exist.
In 1994, the stunning nine hole “Himalayan Golf Course” was established in Pokhara.
Work started on an international standard 18 hole Golf Course at Rajnikunj Gokarna in 1996.
Green Canyon Country Club 9 hole par 3 course established at Fulbari Resort, Pokhara. (Now named the Yeti Golf Club) in 1997.
In 1998, Army Golf Course construction started behind TI Airport, Kathmandu
Nepal Professional Golfers Association was Established. NPGA currently (2004) has 18 professional golfer members.
Gokarna Forest Golf Resort (GFGR) opened up with Nepal’s first international standard 18 hole golf course in 1999.
Tribhuvan Army Officers’ Golf Club 9 holes established in Kathmandu behind the airport known to the less fit as “The Commando Course” in 2000.
In 2001, Dharan Golf Club leased out and revives as Nirvana Country Club, Health & Golf Resort.
Fulbari Resort remodeled and lengthened their course and renamed it Annapurna Golf Club in 2002.
Chaudhary Group opened a private 9 hole golf course in their industrial area in Nawalparasi, Narayanghat, Central Nepal in June 2002. In May 2003, first Nepal Amateur Open held at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
Day 02: Gulf Tour
Half day Gulf tour
Half day city tour
Day 03: Gulf Tour
Half day Gulf tour
Half day city tour
Day 03: Departure