Saturday, September 8, 2012

Playing Golf at the US Club, Mumbai

The Raj is one period that is reviled by a lot of people, but there are many and they are growing in larger numbers who realize that the Raj ushered in a lot of good things as well. The British, who ruled India had a military presence in Bombay, felt the need for an officers club at Bombay. Thus in 1928 permissions were granted to set up this exclusive club for the officers of the British Indian Army and navy. The Golf Course The club is located in the military area and access to the club is a fairly tardy process what with the guard posts and check posts that are the hall mark of a military area. The club is now often called the United Services Club and is jointly managed by the 3 services. The club is located on defense land by the side of the sea at the southernmost tip of Bombay. The piece de resistance of the club is the Golf course which is unique in itself. The course is as per international standards and is a 18 hole course covering 6072 yards. It is a par-70 course. The course abuts the Arabian Sea and being close to the ocean needs adjustment of your game as the sea breeze and wind becomes an important factor.
At one edge of the course is a concrete wall with a paved path that is ideal for an evening walk as the sea breeze envelops the area. Playing the Game Playing golf at this club is an experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in India. The course has a lot of par 3 and 4 and a water hazard as well. It’s a great course and is open from first light to sun set, the year round. The greens are very well maintained and the holes are clearly marked. But while putting the ball you will have to make allowances for the wind that sometimes blows in with great force. Some of the holes are close to the sea and a long shot with the woods may well result in the ball sailing into the sea, aided by the wind. There is also a bar counter right in the center of the course and you can have a swig of beer and continue your game.
Foreigners are not allowed into the club or to play Golf. Membership is also restricted and generally only service officers are allowed to be members. But a civilian can play as a guest of a member. The club is a unique place and rivals some of the best courses abroad. It certainly remains a feather in the cap of Bombay and we can only say ‘thank you’ to the British who left behind such a wonderful course