For those of you who are not familiar with the name DLF, here’s a quick primer on what the three letters represent. It is the largest commercial and real estate developer on the sub-continent and it’s widely regarded as the multi-billion dollar conglomerate responsible for “Building India.”
Asian Golf’s first introduction to this corporation on Indian soil was some years ago when it’s publisher, Mike Sebastian, visits the much acclaimed Arnold Palmer course, which was one of the very first truly international standard golf courses built in India. As we toured the facility, we enquired about what was the original vision behind the course to which then General Manager Aakash Ohri said, “When Mr. Palmer asked our chairman (Mr. KP Singh) what he envisioned for a course, Mr. Singh just told him – give me a course that will be better than the best in the world!”
This set the tone for the template for Palmer’s first signature course in India and the commencement of DLF’s foray into the realm of world class golf courses.
During this show-round, ASIAN GOLF was made privy to the “ambitious plans” that were in store to develop this golf course into a one-of-a-kind community in the world. It was a little difficult to visualize at that time how this grandiose plan was to take shape.
Another course was being worked on by another legend, the South African dynamo, Gary Player. The goal of the Black Knight and Gary Player Design was to create the best course in Asia.
The wish of the chairman and his son, the MIT-educated Rajiv Singh, DLF’s vice chairman took shape, and in 2015, the part of the master-plan was delivered to the amazement of the golf world both in India and internationally, when Gary Player unveiled his signature course.
The brand new Gary Player course was met with great acclaim and not only had Player delivered a truly remarkable golf course, but a course that stood in a class all its own on the world stage.
This is no ideal claim because when ASIAN GOLF set its eyes on the course during the recent Indian Open, it was a jaw-dropping experience.
Not only did the course look in its best shape both in terms of its aesthetic appearance and its tournament readiness, it was a sight to behold. There were splashes of floral color everywhere symbolic of the area coming out from a dreary and cold summer mixed in with a spectacular display of local birds and migratory flocks that stopped over to rest their weary wings before continuing with their journey.
ASIAN GOLF stood at a vantage point to soak in as much of the spell-binding panorama that is the DLF Golf Course and while doing so, we could not help but think about the description that Donna Tartt, the Pulitzer award-winning author had to say about beauty – she wrote, “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.” And this was the effect that it has on ASIA GOLF’s Mike Sebastian. “The beauty of the course was so overwhelming at time that it infused in me a sense of terror at the thought of playing the course and overcoming its many challenges, regardless of its beauty!”
The Player course squats on a natural landscape that was painstakingly contoured and sculpted by Player’s team and according to Jeff Lawrence, Vice President and Senior Designer with the team, “More than 200 million cubic tons of earth was moved and we brought in 27,000 tons of indigenous dholpur (granite boulders) to form rock quarries and stone pillars as a stunning backdrop.”
This in itself was a massive construction task Testimony to this huge undertaking can be seen at the 17th hole (featured on the cover of this issue) which is both awe-inspiring and verve-wrecking at the same time. Bull-dozers and earth-moving equipment were used to lift and place each and every boulder to fit in with a design scheme that surprisingly looks as though it was part of the original landscape. Incredibly awesome is the only way to describe this setting.
“The course is designed to not only create a fun and enjoyable golf outing for the members, but also to host championship events. This is a special versatility of the course,” Lawrence said. Although the designer has described it to be fun an exciting, this course will most definitely rank amongst the most difficult in the world, especially its daunting greens. The India Open stood witness to this as some of the best professionals int eh world were brought to their knees by the unforgiving fariways and tricky greens of the course. One on-looker commented as a European Tour player missed a double bogey, “Looks like the greens were set up by disciples of Satan!” But to be fair, it is a course that let’s you decide on how you want to play it – in the final analysis, it comes down to how the course is managed and as stated earlier, it can be both fun and exciting and downright terrifying.
Whichever way one looks at the DLF Golf Course, it is a masterpiece. “This is precisely what we wanted in the first place and this is what we got – a golf course that is absolutely spectacular and a one-of-a-kind,” exclaimed Ohri, who is now a senior executive director of the DLF organization.
We wanted a very natural setting for the club and as such, we planted thousands of trees to reduce the carbon footprint. The bunkers are very unconventional looking because the bunkers on the course are geo-textile bunkers that have been designed to reduce maintenance costs. We believe in total sustainability and we use recycled treated water fed from two gigantic lakes – one is 13 acres in size while the other is 8 acres, for all of our irrigation needs.”
“I believe that we have been very successful in creating a world class golf course that fits in with the natural environment and landscape like a glove, Ohri explained.
“This has served as an excellent backdrop for DLF’s residential developments around the course. From the original two condominium blocks, a variety of plush sky-scrapers developed by DLF have emerged and these exclusive building form a majestic backdrop for the golf club.
“It was always our intention to create a highly unique environment for golf living and we believe that we have achieved that objective,” Ohri pointed out.
He went on to add, “Our aim is to provide a well-managed, sustainable and ideal setting for our residents to live, work and play.”
Article courtesy of ASIAN GOLF