Golf in India and the Delhi Golf Club go hand in hand. The first-ever international professional event to be staged in India was at the tree-lined challenging course back in 1964, when the Indian Open was introduced onto what was then loosely called the Asian Golf Circuit.
Since then, a plethora of Indian golfers, spanning a few generations have had success there and some even more than once, writes V Krishnaswamy.
Yet, when The DGC Open presented by Mastercard is played there next week it will be an old favourite with the promise of a new experience.
The inaugural event will be the first tournament to be held on the new layout there designed by the legendary Gary Player.
It is no secret that every sponsor wants their tournament at the Delhi Golf Club, which is also called the ‘Lungs of Delhi’ because of its location in the heart of the Indian capital, New Delhi.
And now, The DGC Open presented by Mastercard will join the long list of illustrious Asian Tour events to be held at the famous venue.
Since 1964 no other club in India has hosted as many international events as the Delhi Golf Club. It is also the favourite of most Indian players despite the challenges of narrow fairways and the bushes, which gobble up stray shots, and the bunkers, which can be very penal.
“The DGC”, as it is fondly called, has fetched Jyoti Randhawa, now 49 years old, four wins; Anirban Lahiri, second in last week’s The Players Championship, also has won four times; while SSP Chawrasia has triumphed there on three occasions.
Chawrasia says: “There is something very comforting about DGC. It is a big challenge and I love it. I have done it in the past (in 2008, 2014 and 2016) and would love to add more trophies from the DGC.”
After one of his many wins at the Club, Randhawa had said: “I have great memories of this course and every time I get here, I keep that in mind and it helps. I guess I have won a few times, so I know what the course is.”
Four-time Asian Tour winner Shiv Kapur says: “I have spent more time there than anywhere else except my home and at times even more than at home. In recent times after the new Gary Player layout was inaugurated, I have played time and again with my buddies, Gaurav Ghei, Chiragh Kumar and Arjun Singh, who also have great memories of what is our home course. So, naturally I am looking forward to The DGC Open presented by Mastercard.”
Kapur and Chiragh Kumar, who call the Club their home course, Rashid Khan, who was a product of the junior programme there, veteran Mukesh Kumar, who won his first and only Asian Tour title at the Club, and Khalin Joshi, who broke through with a win at the Club at the Panasonic Open India in 2018 all call it their favourite course.
Before them, veteran and experienced stars like Ali Sher, Gaurav Ghei, Vijay Kumar, Arjun Atwal, Digvijay Singh and others, too, have had international wins at the Club.
The erstwhile course is a huge favourite for all, but not everyone has had success.
While Randhawa and Chawrasia would like more, two other superstars, Jeev Milkha Singh, India’s best-known golfer, and Gaganjeet Bhullar, the most successful Indian on the Asian Tour with nine wins, are still in search of their first-ever wins there.
“Maybe the new layout will bring me success,” said Bhullar, who played the new design when it was opened in mid-2020. “I did get a taste of the new course at a charity event. But now it is match time.”