A steel plant; a planned city which is home to two lush golfing greens barely few kilometres away welcome to Jamshedpur, a city which dedicates itself to promote sports and healthy lifestyle. Better known as Indias first industrial township, the city reflects a pioneering vision of sustained growth. Over the years, Jamshedpur has been home to several sporting disciplines, golf being one of the earliest.
Golf is not new to Jamshedpur. Tata Steel’s archives houses pictures that showcase Beldih Golf course in its early years, more than half a century ago; a more open expanse than the leafy shrub and tree lined course it is today. The pictures are from a different time, but golf has certainly not lost any of its gentility (older aficionados may disagree as they are wont to do in any sport!) or charm for the city’s residents.
In fact, the game has grown in popularity in recent decades, transforming from an “old man’s game” and perhaps even a white man’s game, to one that has gained favour among men, women and youth. These days, it is not uncommon to see women and youngsters on the greens when driving past, early mornings in summer, and almost at all times in the lovely winter sunshine at Jamshedpur. Children as early as five years of age take to the sport. In the coming days, it will not be surprising to see our budding golfers make their mark in the national golfing circuit.
Of course, it retains its reputation as the most stylish of games, where the environs and socialising are as important as the game itself!
Beldih and Golmuri greens
Golfing in Jamshedpur has its roots in the early part of the last century. It was in 1920 that the Beldih Golf Course was established along with the Beldih Club – Tata’s Steel recreational institute for officers and their families. It was a nine-hole course in a park land style set on 6000 sq. yards of green. About a decade later, came the Golmuri Golf Course, another nine-hole course in 1928, upgraded almost a century later to 18 holes. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to know that the facilities were once barred to Indians themselves as most clubs were in those days! With Independence and time, the greens opened their gates to a wider population, and today golf has a devoted following in the steel city.
Along with Tata Open, usually held in December, which brings various golfing luminaries to the city, the Steel City Golf Tournament, typically held in mid-January, is a much-awaited event for home-grown golfers. It includes a night of music, dance and dining–a coveted mark up on the city’s social calendar, for which renowned bands are brought from outside to entertain the community; the final day of the tournament features a sit-down lunch at Beldih Club for golfers.
For both amateur and professional golfers, it is an opportunity to savour all of this, but in addition, it is the chance to participate in, and experience, two important events in the golfing circuit that are hosted in the city’s two golf courses: The Beldih Golf Course and Indian Golf Union (IGU)-approved Golmuri Golf Course. The latter hosts both, the Tata Open Golfing Tournament, conducted under the auspices of the
The twin events are a culmination of nearly a century of golf at Jamshedpur. It is these two tournaments, along with the immaculate condition of the greens, the spread of the surrounding city, and the excellent hosting and support facilities, that have steadily won Jamshedpur kudos for being much more than a steel city – a destination for golfers.
As the winter moves on, Jamshedpur is witnessing a subtle makeover; its vibrant blooms, its golfing greens soaked in morning mist, inviting the early riser for a walk or the golfer for an early match, the city is full of pleasant surprises for those whose passion lies in the sport.
Modern day golf is supposed to have its origins in Scotland, in the early 16th century, though the ancient origins of golf are still being debated. Not surprisingly that the British brought the game to India. Under the British patronage, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) was the first golf club established outside Britain Isles. Thereafter, a series of golf clubs were established all across India — Bombay and Bangalore soon followed. The Royal Bombay Yatch Club (RBYC) was established in 1842, followed by the Royal Bangalore Club and The Shillong Club in 1876 and 1886, respectively. The first national level
However, golf is not the only sport that has been drawing the attention of sports lovers to the steel city. Jamshedpur has been steadily building its reputation as a sporting Mecca. The minting of the Jamshedpur Football Club, as a part of the Indian Super League, is the latest feather in its cap, and a big one at that! But these two stellar events are not far behind.
This year, both these tournaments are part of the Jamshedpur Winter Fest – a series of myriad events that range from a carnival to a tribal conclave, to ISL matches, a city run, a literary meet, dance and music performances. These events, nearly all free, and open to the public, have been growing in popularity, attracting participants and visitors from all over India. Visiting golfers and their families can also easily enjoy these events that are typically held from November to January, around the same time as the golf tournaments.
Among all sports, golf uses an unusual term to define prowess – the “handicap”‘. However, it can be said, that when it comes to golf and Jamshedpur, it is anything but one!