Kolkata is an old and historic city in West Bengal, India. Its old name is Calcutta and it used to be the capital of British India. It is now the capital of West Bengal, as well as largest and most progressive city in the area and Bangladesh. With a history that is more than 300 years old, the city continuous to reinvent itself, making it fresh for everyone every day. Today, in addition to the temples, religion and cultural attractions, golf in Calcutta is also a leading activity that is attracting both local and international tourists.
Golf is a game for those who have time and money to spend. Kolkata learned to love this game for elites from the British, and the modern elites of India are now preserving the love for this international sport. Kolkata is proud of its golf courses since they are among the oldest courses in the world. They have been designed and laid during the British period and remain exciting, attractive and competitive today.
Calcutta is the second city in the world that took up golfing, next only to Britain. There is so much history of the sport here, which is why tourists should play a game or two while vacationing in the city. Even non-golf lovers should try their hand at the sport, if only to experience the glory and historicity of golfing in Kolkata.
Kolkata’s Royal Calcutta Golf Club, which was built in 1829, is the world’s first golf club outside the British Isles. It is the city and India’s pride. Golfing here is quite an experience for everyone, and it won’t really matter how well players perform. The city has two other golf courses, which are Tollygunge Club and Fort William. All three are 18-hole courses.
Affectionately referred to by many as “Royal”, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club is so popular that in India it has become synonymous to the game. Its history is the history of golfing itself outside Britain. For instance, the year 1886 is very important since it was only then that female golfers were allowed to play in this prestigious golf course. However, they were allowed to play only in the mornings.
In 1885, the Maidan Pavilion and a fine bowling green were added to the course. In 1892, the first ever amateur cup in India was held during Christmas. It was participated in by international players from Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Penang, and Singapore. Around that time, the club had 420 members.
In 1910, the Royal moved to where it is now in Tollygunge from its first location near the Calcutta airport and its second location in Maidan. In 1911, King George V and Queen Mary visited the city, went to the golf course and christened it as the “Royal”. Old photos of their visit are still displayed in the Royal’s club house.
The club house also displays and houses golfing records from 1874 up until recent history. There are important medals, cups and trophies, including the Silver Cashmere Cup commemorating the first Calcutta Cup in 1885.
In 1931, the club had 1,770 members and in 1963, the first Indian club captain was elected in the person of Kamal Kumar Mitra. This was an important milestone in the club’s long history. Today, the Royal has about 3,000 members and have produced hundreds of the best golfers in India. Golf in Calcutta and the world would not be the same without the Royal.