The Vice President, RGCC Brigadier General Abul Fazal Md Sanaullah, is the former Secretary General of Bangladesh Golf Federation. He designed the new nine-hole golf course for RGCC. During the soft launch of this 9-hole golf course, which has the scope to be upgraded to an 18-hole one, explained various aspects of the course design as well as other aspects of the game in Rangpur.
Golf has been introduced in Rangpur in 1993 by Major General AMSA Amin. A make-shift 3-hole learning facility was developed and named as Rangpur Learners’ Golf Club (RLGC). In 2007, the course was shifted to yet another temporary location and upgraded to 9 holes. However, compared to the requirement, the area was very small and the course had to bear with repeated crossings. Since 2014 number of initiatives were taken to move the course next to River Ghaghat. Finally, in 2016 actual work started with a view to eventually shifting the course by 2017. Major General Mashud Razzaq, the President RGC gave the concept and I did the design work. The design underwent many revisions and came to present shape in early 2017. The master plan encompasses an 18-hole course but has been limited to 9 holes for now. A record flood in the mid of the year delayed our work. Finally, we could finish the first phase of implementation by the end of December 2017.
Insofar the design is concerned, first and the most important feature of the layout is leaning the course against River Ghaghat – a river that flows round the year. The river and the tranquillity of the area have been availed to the earnest. We conformed to the north-south drainage of the area and connected all the water bodies to a single outlet; with the provision of alternatives, if necessary. Playing the course would offer different feel including fairways with varying width, dog-leg to the right and left, more than one island greens, changing feel for the approach shots, and, greens at different height. The greens are quite large and will allow for long putting. Green number 9 returns to the club house. Lines of trees divide the fairways and would bear fruits and flowers around the year. Due to the limitation of space, orchards are not many in member though but the foliage would wear varying look at different seasons. The turf would be easily maintainable as it would have natural grass topping of the area. Greens are done with Bermuda. As far as the other facilities are concerned, the clubhouse would be readily accessible from the road and will have on its either sides the driving range and practice greens. Since this is going to be a golf and country club, there will be additional facilities including indoor and outdoor sports, boat club and game zones.
The main challenge of the design was to accommodate the course in a limited space without any crossing. Indeed, there is an inevitable tightness in the layout; although it would be something to enjoy. The soil of the area being predominantly sandy – is good for the grass but challenging for maintenance at the same time. It would require a season or two of water modelling during monsoon to fine-tune the slopping.
Hole by hole:
The club house overlooks the Tee 1 and Green 9. The first hole is par-4 with around 360-yard distance. A moderate tee shot is essential for a good score. It goes along the river and its embankment on one side. There is an open canal almost along the whole length. The second hole is a par-4 one, with river on one side and the lake on the other. This is indeed the Index 1 hole of the course. Long hitters may fancy chances to reach the green after the dog-leg left but at a high risk. Indeed this hole demands precision than aggression. Third hole is a mid-ranging par-3, all along over the lake. The fourth one is a par-5 which has an island green with a dog-leg to the right. One can think of reaching the green in two shot but will require precise and long drive with an accurate mid iron to follow. You see the top of the green over the trolley track. The green is the largest in the course and is about 150 feet by 90 feet in dimension. The fifth hole is a par-3 and goes over two water bodies. It is around 160 yards in length. The sixth hole is a 300-yard par-4. Short of the green, there is an open canal. The seventh and he eighth hole hugs each other and fairly identical in length at approximately 400 yards. One has a narrow landing area and other fairly large. The ninth hole is a fairly long par-4. However, when the clubhouse moves to the original place, it will turn into a par-5 one.
When will it be playable?
I expect the course should be ready for play by late February to early March. The arboriculture layout is almost done. However, the development and modelling may continue for one or two more seasons. I hope, in a year or so, this will become one of the very fine and attractive courses. None would like to miss the opportunity to play here, particularly during and after the winter.