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Bastion of Golf
Royal Calcutta Golf Club affectionately known as the "Royal" is synonymous with the game of golf in this country. Founded in 1829, Royal is the oldest golf club outside the British Isles, the oldest being the Royal and Ancient, St. Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf. The Royal truly has a history that would be a treasure for the archives of the game of golf.

Originally located near the Calcutta airport, the club moved to the Maidan and finally to its present location at Tollygunge in 1910. Meant exclusively for the use of gentlemen, ladies were very reluctantly admitted to the club in 1886, when the committee voted 43 against 13 on the condition that female members be allowed to use the course only in the mornings.

In 1911, the club was honoured by King George V and Queen Mary, who conferred on it, the title of "Royal" to commemorate their visit to Calcutta. Much of the memorabilia connected with the history of the club is still preserved in the club house.
The country over which the Royal Calcutta course is laid, was originally paddy fields, and the course is consequently very underlating. Successive committees have built mounds and planted thousands of trees and shrubs. But the Royal's conspicuous features are its strategically located water tanks and natural water hazards. The most significant are the two large tanks across the seventh fairway, a 457 yards, par four hole. From the tee, the tiger line is over the first tank and must carry all of 230 yards safer route to the right which leaves a very long second shot over the second tank, a good 100 yards wide, to a small undulating green wickedly trapped all around. The out-of-boundary wall dangerously hugs the entire left flank of this hole.
Greens at Royal are quite large by modern standards and their undulations make them tricky and there is a little nap. Its strength lies in its par fours and to score, requires good, long and medium irons.
The Royal Calcutta also has a Bowling Green section, founded in the early 18th century. Bowling has become a very popular sport and numerous competitions are now staged attracting a large number of participants. Here members can indulge in their woods along the grass in an attempt to get close to 'jack' the little white ball immortalised by Sir Francis rake.

No records are available until 1874. After that, however all records have been preserved. Cups, Medals and Trophies were presented to and exchanged between the Royal and Golf Club of Madras, Bangalore as well as other clubs abroad. Notable among them are the Silver Cashmere Cup presented to the Royal and Ancient St. Andrews where the first Calcutta Cup was played in 1885.

The epithet "Royal" was conferred upon the Calcutta Golf Club by George V at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. In a minute dated 8th February, 1876, it is recorded that playing for the Royal Blackhealth Medal, a Cup valued Rs. 25/- and a golf set priced at Rs. 9/- were given away as prizes. The expenses for running the club were Rs. 720/- as salaries for servants for twelve months, Rs. 100/- for sundry expenses and the estimated stock of liquor at the closing of accounts was Rs. 200/- which must have represented quite an extensive cellar.
The Maidan Pavilion was opened some time in January, 1885 and a fine bowling green was laid down in 1887-88. The first Amateur Golf Championship of India was held at the Royal during Christmas in the year, 1892 with players from Ceylon, Burma, Penang & Singapore taking part. While the registered office of the Club continues to be at the Maidan, the work on the course at the present location, started in 1908 and all 18 holes were opened for play in 1912. Membership of the Club stood at 420 in 1892, 1770 in 1931 and stands at over 2900 today. A milestone in the Club's history was the election of the first Indian Captain in the persons of Kamal Kumar Mitra in the year 1963. One of the most prestigious clubs in Calcutta, the Royal being the first golf club in India is virtually the founder of the game of golf in the country. Royal has encouraged the local lads working as caddies to become some of the best professionals in the country. Royal has produced the best Amateurs in India. Some of them might have their beginnings elsewhere but they have matured into champions playing their formative years at the Royal.
Royal is essentially a golf club and maintains that character even while affording facilities for other sports like tennis, etc. Today Royal is considered to have one of the finest golf courses anywhere in Asia. Dotted with the famous ponds, the course has seen tremendous improvement over the last few years with redesigning and upgradation in progress. The 72 par course is both inviting and a challenge. The Royal has been the shared venue of the All India Championship since 1958 and has played host to some of golf's all time greats, both Indians and Internationals such as I.S. Malik, H.S. Malik, Major P.G. Sethi, Walter Hagen and Pamela Barton to name but a few.
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