Yes, we agree. Golf sounds frightfully complicated to the unaware. With all this talk of bogeys, birdies and handicaps, it’s easy for the uninitiated to call the familiar bogey call and never pick up a golf club. We have friends who are avid golfers, some who’ve even gone pro, and all we hear them say is how therapeutic and relaxing the sport can be. So, we enlisted the help of pro-golfer Kanishk Madan and avid enthusiast Arjun Talwar to help fill the nine holes in our information. If you’re looking to tee-off and don’t know where to start, where to play and how to go about it, our guide is here to shepherd you through this uncertainty. From golf courses in the city and equipment, to where to shop and trainers to enlist, all you have to do is dress the part, and leave the rest to us!

What to know about the Sport |

Levels: There are 3 levels of golfers – Junior and Sub-Junior {upto 18}, Amateur and Professional. The Professional Golf Association {PGA} of India is sort of like a central governing body that handles all Indian golfers.

Investment: If you’ve heard it’s expensive, you’ve heard correct. From coaching classes and attire, to equipment and club charges, it can easily set you back between 60-70,000 rupees.

Activity: Here’s one myth we can dispel – although it is a calm sport, it is most certainly not meant for lazy people. Golfing {especially pro level} requires you to be super-fit, not only physically, but also mentally. It is a gentleman’s game, and although it doesn’t involve sprints and jogs, a component instrumental to making an efficient and correct golf swing is having an able body. This includes strong hip muscles, flexible hamstrings and a stable back.

Dress Code: Golfers take their dress code very seriously, and most clubs and courses follow strict rules {some stricter than others} about how you’re supposed to be dressed. Golf style almost always involves a collared shirt, a visor or baseball cap {you don’t know where you’ll have to go looking for your ball}, khaki pants, and to begin with, sneakers, ultimately graduating to golf shoes. Remember you’re outdoors for long durations, so dress for the weather. Sunblock if it’s a hot day, and a good rain jacket for wet conditions.

Golfing étiquette  |

Although there’s a bunch of rules, don’t be intimated, you’ll learn along the way. But starting off, be mindful of the following things.

Don’t lag behind: This doesn’t mean you need to rush a swing, it just means when it is your turn to swing, take one or two practice shots and go for it.

Pecking order:  Most golf groups have a pecking order. Generally, the player with the best score on the previous hole gets to go first, but this can vary from group to group, so it’s important to get a sense of how your group plays, and wait for your shot.

The Course:  Be mindful of the course; it looks that good because it’s taken care off. Find out where you’re allowed to drive your cart {not allowed on the putting green}. Also, if you end up taking out a piece of turf while hitting a shot, try and fix it back in its place or fix the hole with some seed mix.

Watch yourself: Watch where you’re standing. A good rule of thumb is to stand to the side and slightly behind the ball; golfers don’t enjoy anyone interfering with their shot, and also don’t want anyone to get hurt {depends on who you’re golfing with}.

No prizes for guessing how important equipment is to the game. You don’t have to break the bank to get started, but focus on finding the sort of equipment that will allow you to develop your newbie skills. Starting off, make learning and not buying your priority. Most courses/clubs have golf sets available on rent, if you’re in the market for just a golf trial.

A GOLF RESOURCE RESERVOIR |

Golf Courses to bookmark in the city |

Most clubs are member exclusive, but allow non-members to book a session at a fee. We recommend getting in touch with your club of choice to get a sense of what their deal is for non-members. Here’s some places you can go:

Jaypee Greens, Greater Noida: An 18-hole course and the only Greg Norman designed golf course in India.

Unitech Golf & Country Club: A members only, 9 hole course, the course has the maximum number of bunkers you can find in a 9 hole course across the city.

Noida Golf Course: An 18-hole par 72 golf course, located just off the Noida DND.

Delhi Golf Club: One of India’s premier golf clubs, it’s centrally located and comprises the Champion Hole Lodhi Course {part of the Asian PGA tour} and the shorter 9 hole Peacock Course.

Air Force Golf Course: Also located in the heart of the capital, the course runs parallel to a race track and a polo ground, so you can add horses to your list of visuals while you play a round. Foreigners need special permission to be able to use this course.

DLF Golf and Country Club: This 18 hole Championship Course has the Aravali range as a backdrop, and is designed by Arnold Palmer, an American professional golfer, generally regarded as one of the greatest pro-golfers.

ITC Classic Golf Resort: The first Jack Nicklaus course in South Asia, the course comprises 27 holes of 3 nines each {The Ridge, The Valley and The Canyon}. This course is located an hour outside the city, so it’s ideal for a short weekend golf getaway.

Tarudhan Valley Golf Resort: A 9 hole course, Tarudhan also has a driving range, a putting and chipping area and a Pro shop. Another great option for a weekend dedicated to playing golf, since it’s located an hour outside the city.

Qutab Golf Course: The first public golf course developed in the country. What started as a 9 hole course, became an 18 hole course in 2002. There is also a 250-yard driving range, and they also offer training facilities. A good bet for beginners.

Driving range at Sirifort Sports Complex: Sirifort offers a driving range, and a pitch & putt course available to non-members for a daily fee.

TEACHERS & COACHES |

Every golf course comes with the provision of a trainer or coach. We suggest calling ahead of your game to find out who is available, and to book time with them.

Word of advice: If you’re serious about starting to golf, find a good coach and a ‘happy course’. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with yourself; might as well be surrounded by people who are up to the same thing.

If you’re serious about the sport, and training, the two most recommended names are Nonita Lal, reachable at +91 9810162451, and Romit Bose, at 91 9819957340

BUYING BRANDS |

To reiterate, for beginners, learning should be the priority, and not buying. That said, if you chose to make a solid investment from the start, popular brands to watch out for are:

Taylormade

Titleist

Callaway

Ping

DEALERS |

We also strongly suggest you get in touch with dealers based out of India, rather than going to a sports store:

KP Adusumilli {based out of Bangalore}: +91 9880488334

Paritosh {who deals in Titleist}: +91 8285046299

Rahul Khanna {Cleveland and Srixon}: +91 9810213135

Pankaj Sethi {Ping}: +91 9810356632

Taylormade has outlets in Delhi

DRESSING THE PART |

For regular collared tees, visors and caps, there’s always Nike and Adidas stores. {South Extension, Select Citywalk, DLF Promenade}, or the Taylormade Flagship Store {Select City Walk}.

For more specialized attire, shop online here or here.

EVENTS & TOURS |

Your one stop shop: PGA of India, here.

Also check out this space here for a constant update on the golf world.

India tours get covered on Ten Sports, but most major tournaments are not telecast.

MAGAZINES+BLOGS |

Golf Plus

Golf Digest

Rahulbajajgolf.blogspot.com

INDIAN GOLFERS TO KNOW |

Shiv Kapur: An Indian professional golfer, he started his career as an amateur, winning the Indian and Malaysian Amateur Opens in 2000. After turning pro in 2004, he made a considerable impact on the Asian tour, and finished the year fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Anirban Lahiri: As of December 2013, Anirban was the highest ranked Indian golfer in the world, at 111.

Gaganjeet Bhullar: An Indian pro golfer who plays on the Asian Tour, Gaganjeet was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2013. As an amateur golfer, he was India’s number one, and was part of the team that won the silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games.

Sharmila Nicollet: An Indo French professional golfer from Bangalore, Sharmila was the youngest lady golfer to win the All-India Ladies Amateur Championship in 2007-2008, along with seven Open Amateur Tournaments.

 Image Credit: http://capecodgolfvacations.com/the-best-of-both-worlds-golfing-and-beaches/