By Champika N Sayal, Secretary General of the Women’s Golf Association of India
Images courtesy of DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon
It’s the festive season of Dusshera in India that marks the Hero Women’s Indian Open 2015. The burning of 12 heads of the demon King Ravana (part of Indian mythology) to demolish evil over good will be an experience and treat for visiting players and guests.
Onset of autumn in Northern India brings great cheer!-Respite from the dreadful heat of summer and a welcome relief from the humid monsoons- weather challenges become distant as India’s National Capital Region (NCR) is once again all set to welcome participants from across the globe for the coveted Hero Women’s Indian Open Golf Championship. 114 players from across 35 countries and representatives from all the continents across the globe for the first time- will be in the fray to compete in Hero Women’s Indian Open which has a prize purse of 400,000 US Dollars- the biggest prize money so far in women’s golf in India!
The Ninth edition of this prestigious golf championship is being hosted at Gary Player’s new state of art golf course at DLF Golf &Country Club in Gurgaon and comes back to this golfing paradise after a period of 2 years. The newly commissioned Gary Player course is amongst the most challenging golf courses in the world designed by the iconic ‘Black Knight’ who referred to his new master piece as ‘A miracle course’ earlier in 2015. Nestled in the Aravalli hills, about 35 kilometres south of New-Delhi, this expanse of rugged rocky terrain has been transformed into a scenically beautiful golfing facility which will help in grooming a younger generation of Indian golfers to compete globally!
A magnificent combination of water bodies and deep PIPED STACK RIVETTED bunkers, don the well manicured narrow and winding fairways. Highly contoured greens pose to be a huge challenge on this “GREEN” Golf Course which has been developed to use recycled treated sewage water for keeping it in pristine condition. Several hills have been created and contoured up to 20 meters making the new Gary player course a force to reckon with. Numerous birds can be seen flocking to the enormous water lakes that have been created.
An island green on the front nine which is perhaps the only one in the country needs a precision shot. A significant challenge awaits players on the new 17th hole which is a masterpiece and certainly the most challenging hole on the course. The three finishing holes have to be played with exceptional skill and precision to bring out the best result.
India’s first women’s professional tournament turns 10 – on 22nd of October. In 2005 on 22nd October, three International players and India’s lone tour player Smriti Mehra, were invited to play a SKINS GAME. Heather Daly Donofrio, Hilary Lunke and Celeste Troche played the old Arnold Palmer course for a sum of 18,000 US Dollars. WGAI symbolises EQUALITY, DISCIPLINE and INTERGRITY at the highest level. A decade later a Prize purse of 400,000 US Dollars speaks volumes of the Title Sponsor HeroMoto Corp Chairman, MD & CEO Mr Pawan Munjal’s personal commitment towards building this Championship and taking women’s professional to a global scenario.
An equal advantage to all players as the new Gary Player golf course will play host to its “Maiden Championship”- Will The Black Knight’s course receive recognition from 114 maidens who are to walk the fairways and hone their skills – A patient wait for accolades!
Will it be sighs of relief from our esteemed guest players! What will be the winning score? Will players take out their drivers on the treacherously narrow fairways or layup shots? The course set at 6282 yards which is another challenge! The new Gary Player course is incomparable in style, demanding skill, high focus and precision shots.
Will US LPGA player Cheyenne Woods take the on rest of the world? Will an Indian player wear the crown in 2015? Gwladys Nocera the defending Champion- will she master this iconic golf course and set a course record?
For returning players to DLF Golf &Country, a pleasant surprise waits -as remnants of the old Arnold Palmer course and club house can hardly be recognised. The front nine of the old Arnold Palmer course remains.
Kudos to this world class championship course and magnificent club house facilities!
DLF Golf & Country Club beckons spectators from across India and the globe. Hero Women’s Indian Open promises great action with the best field the championship has witnessed.