Visakhapatnam

Golf tourism: City looks to tee off

In the big league: Golfers at the newly renovated East Point Golf Course in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The 136-year-old East Point Golf Course (EPGC) is a big splodge of green in Visakhapatnam’s growing urban sprawl. Andhra Pradesh’s only golf course is set to become an 18-hole category A course spread over 86 acres. The newly-designed and renovated golf course is expected to draw professional golfers from across the globe and also drive tourism to this part of the country.

“The total cost of the redesigning project is about ₹20 crore. The works began in February last year and already 14 holes have been completed. The last phase of work will be done in a month’s time, following which by early next year it will ready to host tournaments,” EPGC secretary R.V.S. Rudraraju told The Hindu. Previously, the golf course was in category B and measured 72 acres.

The freshly designed golf course has more challenging fairways with new water bodies and sand bunkers. “Once the new course is completed, we plan to host national and international level tournaments. We are already in talks with professional golf agencies for this. The aim is to host four to five professional golf tournaments,” he said.

EPGC also has a new driving range for its training academy. “We are running a special junior golf programme for the age group of six to 18 years and it is open for the public. Under this, there are three programmes — beginners, advanced and elite. At present, 12 children are being trained under the junior golf programme,” said P.K. Raju, a golf coach at EPGC. “We are reaching out to schools with packages as well,” said Mr. Rudraraju.

Avid golfer Seshagiri Mantri, who has been in the hospitality industry for several years now, said, “This uniqueness of the EPGC will put Vizag in the top of the international golfing map. The upgradation of the golf course will help to showcase Vizag as a golf tourism destination.”

The club was started around 1884, primarily for the relaxation of the British. Originally, the golf course was located in the area where the VUDA Park and The Park stand today. It moved to its present location at Mudasarlova in 1964, thanks to the efforts of Raja PV Gajapathi Raju of Vizianagaram and other avid golfers then. Over the years, with some efforts, golfing in the city received an accelerated push; as a result, today the club has 1,500 members.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:35:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/golf-tourism-city-looks-to-tee-off/article33172972.ece

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