Friday, October 3, 2014

Golfing in Kodagu – ‘Coorg Golf Links’

Come September, the Indian landscape changes rapidly. As the rains withdraw, it ushers the end of monsoon. The countryside looks squeaky clean and dry-cleaned; the people are out on the streets once again in bright and colorful clothes. As if the heavens were just waiting to celebrate, September and October hosts a number of important festivals. Ganapati, followed by Onam, Dussera, Navaratri and Deepavali bring in gaiety and merriment all over the country. Children and parents step out of their routine and make feverish plans to proceed to holiday destinations. We were no different and decided to go to the Coorg Golf Links Club for a golfing holiday. Sampath and Saroja readily agreed to come on board. Ashok and Push joined us from Delhi. Dore and Lalitamma most graciously lent their valuable company in spite of being ‘non golfers’. All in all, eight of us left Bangalore in the early hours of 25th Sep in two cars towards Virajpet -  Bittangala – Ambatty Village and finally the club. The village is located at an elevation of 3000ft and about 80 kms from the Arabian Sea. The weather is a bit muggy, with so much of rain and proximity to the sea. It is very comfortable in the mornings and late evenings but hot and humid during the sunny hours. The drive from Bangalore to the club is fairly smooth– except for one bad patch in the forest area prior to Gonikoppal. It took us about 6 hrs to travel 240 Kms.*( Lovely breakfast enroute at Kamath’s)

Jai and self wanted to go some place nearby to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in May 2002 and that is when, a close friend, Air Commodore Ganapathy suggested that we visit Coorg Golf Links Club. At that point of time I was a non golfer and went there to absorb the ambiance, weather, Koduva hospitality et al. The club had only one room at that time and very meager facilities. In spite of all that, our stay was wonderful and we had the opportunity to meet Gana’s sister and brother-in-law Mr. K.K.Aiyappa, the Patron of the Golf course and Club. We had a wonderful time and came back with a bag full of sweet memories. This time around, I once again zeroed in on the place where we had, had such a lovely time. Thanks Gana once again.

Over time, the club buildings and golf course has developed by leaps and bounds thanks to the passion and flair shown by the management. Their desire to provide a good clubbing experience is evident in all its facets. The club house is situated at an elevation overlooking the golf course, which is nestled in a valley. The club is fairly old – it started as a 9 hole course in 1991 and later developed into 18 holes 6950 yard, par 72 course. The course is well maintained and provides a degree of challenge to all the golfers as the course winds its way up from the plateau to the hills and back. The front nine and the back nine are totally different in character. The first five holes creep up the steep gradient of the hill, extracting all one’s energy. All along the course the view is simply lovely. Tall trees regally line both sides of the fairway adding a bit of old world charm to the course. 

The early morning view is one of extreme peace and tranquility. Early risers are greeted by hill tops covered in a blanket of cloud, wet flora and fauna, the fresh smell of the earth and the never ending chirping of different birds. We went golfing on all the days, whilst Dore and all the ladies went sightseeing, shopping and most importantly for dawn and dusk strolls.
Having all the meals in the club house provides you an opportunity to gorge on the wonderful ambiance. The Western Ghats are clearly visible from the club house. The overall mood quickly enhances the appetite and one tends to indulge in gluttony. The food prepared by the club is simple and tasty. The club has a well stocked bar to nurse any flagging golfer back to good cheer.   

On 28th Sep, we visited Bhangandeshwara - Shiva temple at Bhagamangala. At this place, the river Cauvery is joined by two tributaries, the Kannike and the mythical Sujyoti river. Lots of devotees visit this auspicious place and take a holy dip at the ‘Triveni Sangam’. Thereafter we went to Talakaveri, the source of the river Cauvery.

Overall the holiday was full value for money – going with old friends is akin to getting into a pair of old shoes – tested and tried, totally comfortable, warm and familiar. Having rested body, mind and soul, we returned to good old Bangalore on  29th Sep.

We were a tad disappointed to enter Bangalore and to face  the ground reality – over crowded streets, traffic jams, filth strewn all over the place and the accompanying ills of a growing metropolis.

Swachh Bharat campaign commencing 02 Oct 2014 initiated by our Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi is a very welcome step; just hope it works.

Figure 1- Proudly proclaiming its presence

Figure 2 – Club House

Figure 3 – View from the club house

Figure 4 – View from the room

Figure 5 – Ashok and Sunder – Hole No 1

Figure 6- Cloud caped hills - Hole No 2

Figure 7 – Fascinating Greens

Figure 8 – Water body near Hole No 4

Figure 9 – Immaculate green

Figure 10 – The climb takes its toll

Figure 11 – A bit of rest at Hole No 5

Figure 12 – Very helpful caddies – Sumitra, Samir and Jaffer

Figure 13 – Looking down into the plains

Figure 14 - Hole No 6 winds its way through

Figure 15 – As the ball rolls to Hole No 6

  Figure 16 – Longish Hole No 7

Figure 17 – Text book Tee off at Hole No 10 by Ashok

Figure 18 - Water body near Hole No 12

Figure 19 – The staff of CGL and my caddy Zeenat with Putter and Driver – far Right

Figure 20 – Photo op

Figure 21 – Pushpa and Ashok all set to return to Bangalore a day earlier

Figure 22 – Evening sky over CGL

Figure 23 – All the caddies for the championship on 28th Sep

Figure 24 - Bhangandeshwara - Shiva temple at Bhagamangala

Figure 25 – Source of River Cauvery

Figure 26 – The gang after receiving Cauveri devi’s blessings