Writer GK Chesterton regarded it as an expensive way of playing marbles, while South African pro Gary Player found it a puzzle without an answer.
But Assam, battered by decades of insurgency and ethnic violence, believes golf is a puzzle worth reinvesting in to have all the marbles. Reinvestment, because more than a century ago, British tea planters – mostly from Scotland, where the game originated – had invested in scores of golf courses in luxuriant tea estates, reports Hindustan Times.
Lately, the planters’ clubs, lording over some 20 golf courses, have been trying to shed their colonial hangover to let the golfing locals drive and putt. These Scottish legacies are a part of the plan to make Assam a tea-and-golf destination for tourists. But the focus of this campaign is the newest member of the ‘tea-tee club’ – the Kaziranga Golf Club (KGCL) in Sangsua Tea Estate near Jorhat town, 308 km east of Guwahati.
Established by planter Hemendra Prasad Barooah in 2011 as a resort, Kaziranga Golf Course is really the odd one out, as it is the only designer course and the only one with 18 holes. The other tea estate courses are all nine-hole courses. Unlike the others, it is also close to Assam’s most popular destinations amongst visiting golfers.