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Aakash Ohri is the man of the soil so to speak. He knows his golf and his course as he was among the first in the team to build golf at DLF. He has seen the course built and carved out of nothing. What was once barren land, has gone from being a spectacular course with several opportunities for strokes for players of all proficiencies. In its new avatar – DLF Golf & Country Club – will host the Hero Women’s Indian Open (HWIO) 2015 as its first pro event. We are catching up with the Executive Director of DLF Homes & Chairman of DLF Golf Resorts on why the Gary Player course is truly a dream to play.

What makes this course so special: What should players watch out for?

The Gary Player signature design course has some unique features. There are significant elevation changes from tee to green which will make judging distance a challenge. Greens are large and undulating, giving players a lot to think about while putting. But most importantly, the way the holes are designed, will make players strategize their way around the course.

What’s the bunker positioning like for the HWIO 2015 – we hear some of the bunkers are deep?

The bunker design in another unique feature. Their geo-rivetted faces are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also serve a purpose. The bunkers can be made deeper with this design.

The scenic course has some spectacular features: Could you kindly share some highlights?

The course is a scenic parkland design with dramatic landscape enhanced by ambient lighting. The course has many firsts in the country. It has the first ever ‘Island Green’ in the country. Also, for the very first time, ‘Sub Air Systems’ have been used in India. Sub Air aeration and moisture removal system promotes healthier and stronger playing surfaces through moisture content management, subsurface aeration, and root zone temperature control. As a result, Sub-Air provides optimum aerobic subsurface growing conditions. Celebration Bermuda, rated as one of the best grass in the world by numerous university research studies is used for the course along with Mini Verde, the best known grass for the greens around the globe. Celebration Bermuda grass is widely known for wear tolerance & recovery, drought resistance & tolerance, disease & frost resistance. Also, the course features a very large lake which is fed by treated water from DLF’s state of the art sewage treatment plant and the entire golf course is irrigated by this water, in consonance with the company’s ethos of a Green DLF.

Why is HWIO 2015 special for DLF and the new course?

The Women’s Indian Open was first played in 2007 under the title sponsorship of DLF Ltd, and we continue to be the Presenting Sponsors since 2010. The first six editions were played at the DLF Golf & Country Club’s Arnold Palmer course. You could say that the DLF Golf & Country Club is the home of the Hero Women’s Indian Open, and we are looking forward to hosting the event for the seventh time in nine years.

What kind of clubs will suit the scoring here?

Short game will play an important part in good scoring. Players getting their strategies correct will play a bigger part.

Typically, what’s a good score off the championship tees?

Breaking par on the Gary Player course will take a lot of skill. Anything around that score should be considered good.

What was your vision while seeking this new design and layout?

This is a testimonial of our Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ vision and at par with the best in the world. We strive to create world class golfing infrastructure in India and make India one of the world’s top golf tourist destination.

Your perception of golf in India with every passing year?

The golf industry in India is at a very exciting stage with new courses, real estate projects, academies, tournaments and equipment companies coming in. Golf is no more associated with the elite but fast becoming the sport for a very large Indian middle class, adding to the already playing upper class.

Aakash Ohri is the Executive Director at DLF Home Developers Ltd and is the Chairman of DLF Golf Resorts Ltd. He has been instrumental in growth of Golf business for DLF Ltd. in all phases of its development since its founding in 2000. He is an avid golfer and an advocate of eco-friendliness and sustainability.