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DELHI GOLF CLUB

Still happening




When it was decided in the 1920s that the golf course that used to exist around India Gate was to be moved - because it was interfering with Lutyen's building plans - the then chief of the horticultural department is said to have borrowed an elephant and marched into scrub and jungle until he hit Humayun's tomb. There he began to recce the area for a suitable spot for the new golf course until he stood at what is today called the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).

Legend has it that the chief, a golf-playing Scotsman, was also an amateur archaeologist. And that he chose DGC's current site in the midst of Lodhi-era monuments, which still form part of the course, because he thought moving the course's bunkers around might unearth other archeological finds.

After Partition, with a number of members moving to Pakistan, the club found itself down to 80 golfers and not enough money to look after the course. That forced the municipality to step in and say the golfers would have to fund a self-supporting club with a minimum of 120 members or that they would shut it down. Once those conditions were met, today's DGC was formed in 1951.

It was then suggested that the valuable land the course sat on should be taken over for housing since the capital's population had exploded after Partition. It took DGC founder member Dharma Vira, cabinet secretary and governor of many states, to convince Nehru not to let that happen. But some land was lost, to what are now the Golf Links and Kaka Nagar colonies. Apart from Vira, the club's other notable presidents have included General KS Thimmaya, Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh, who members say still comes for a cup of tea at the club house on most evenings, and Romesh Bhandari.

The younger members say the pub in the clubhouse is a "happening" place to be on Friday and Saturday nights, and that Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra stop by from time to time. The government last year extended the club's lease up to 2050 and there are over 3, 300 members. Membership is a prized commodity. An ardent DGC loyalist says she will pass her membership to her grandchildren. "They might not appreciate it today, but they will one day, " she says.

ENTRY FEE |


Rs 3 lakh plus taxes for government servants;Rs 6 lakh plus taxes for others

WAITING |


15 years for government servants;30 for others

FAMOUS MEMBERS |


Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Kapil Dev, Farooq Abdullah, Milkha Singh

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