Golf Leagues Revolutionise the Game in India: Unleashing the Spirit of Competition and Camaraderie

Indian golf has been on the cusp of monumental growth. Over the last few years, there has been an increased number of golfers taking up the game and many new golf courses being launched. Golf, often perceived as a boring sport by a few, has kept youngsters away for a very long time. However, times are changing, and taking inspiration from the Indian Premier League, several golf leagues have sprung up around the country. The Royal Premier League was the first such league to begin nine years ago at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. Since then, almost every club has started its own league, which has helped grow the game in their respective cities.

These leagues help engage club members and encourage non-golfers to support their friends and families while enjoying the hospitality. They bring together a sense of camaraderie that never existed in an individual sport before. The leagues allow a new mix of members to meet and play with each other, which generally would not happen as everyone would usually be part of their own four-ball or golf group. While a majority of the golf leagues have a welcome dinner, they also host an auction night where team owners bid for players using notional money, creating a lot of buzz in the golf club for many days leading up to the event. The competitiveness of these events is evident with the number of rounds increasing as teams practice, and the food and beverage expenses rise with many team meetings being organized to strategize and plan.

In the month of June, which is generally an off-season for golf in India, the Classic Golf Resort will be hosting the 2nd edition of the Classic Golf Premier League with an increase in the number of teams from 12 to 17 compared to the 1st edition. Many more sponsors have come on board, promising to make this league more engaging for the team owners and members. The uniqueness of this league is that it employs a modified Stableford format for the qualifying rounds before moving on to match play for the knockout stages. The event, hosted at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Classic Golf & Country Club, promises to be one of excitement and competitiveness. A team owner can buy a team for Rs. 4 Lac plus GST and nominate 10 of their friends, family, and associates to play for their team. This is one league where there is no auction, and team owners/captains choose their players at their discretion. The CGPL will host a welcome dinner and press conference for all the team owners and players on the 10th of June. During the course of the event on all match days, there will be fun on-course contests, lucky draws, and food and beverage courtesy of the Classic Golf & Country Club. This year, the 2 finalists will also get a chance to stay at the ITC Grand Bharat courtesy of the league. There has already been much excitement, with many teams hitting the golf course to get their practice rounds in and prepare for the 2nd edition of this tournament.

Moving to Hyderabad, the T9 Challenge is scheduled from the 25th of June at the Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club. The T9 Challenge is hosted by the T Golf Foundation, which was founded in 2021 by Dr. NRN Reddy to promote the growth of golf in Telangana and India. This brainchild has been created to support those who are the major stakeholders of golf but never get their due, such as caddies, labourers, and machine operators, among others. The T9 Challenge, also in its 2nd edition, is played in a league format over only 9 holes each day. The cost of owning a 10-member team for this is Rs 4 Lac plus GST and will be played over 3 weeks to determine the champion. The T Golf Foundation, along with Brandon de Souza Management Services, also hosts the National Amateur Golf League, wherein the winners of all the golf leagues in India come together to claim the title of the National Champion.

This is just the start of the golfing season, with many more leagues in the pipeline. The inaugural Oxford Premier League is scheduled for the month of July, and the Chandigarh Golf League is now in its 2nd season and is expected to be much bigger and better. There are many other golf leagues around the country, and it seems like the league trend is here to stay.