At the Redesigned Visakhapatnam’s East Point Golf Club, Golfers across India are hitting the Fairway in true style

Whether you are a diehard golf junkie or a rookie, teeing off at Visakhapatnam’s East Point Golf Club with fresh stretches of pristine green is a deeply relaxing as well as addictive experience

Whether you are a diehard golf junkie or a rookie, teeing off at Visakhapatnam’s East Point Golf Club with fresh stretches of pristine green is a deeply relaxing as well as addictive experience

Gazing down the valley at East Point Golf Club (EPGC), a lush landscape of fairways and endless greens, mischievous sand traps and brilliant blue ponds greet the eye. Amidst this, the approving claps of a gallery of viewers carry to the rugged Peaks of the surrounding Eastern Ghats. Ever since the course was Redesigned into a category-A Championship course about a year ago, the EPGC has been buzzing with energy.

After a Pandemic-induced lull for nearly two years putting a damper on sports as well as destination travel, the EPGC is giving golfers the opportunity to hit the Fairway in true style. With a smattering of water bodies, palm trees and bunkers, all maintained in top condition, the 18-hole course has been drawing golf lovers from afar. Here, non-members can rent golf equipment as well. Since September last year, the EPGC has hosted three national level tournaments and is gearing up for two more in the summer. It recently concluded the Captain’s Cup tournament and hosted a glittering Captain’s Night to celebrate the winners of the year’s tournaments.

Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta presenting the Awards to the winners of the Captains Cup Golf Tournament during Captain’s Night at East Point Golf Club | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

Member-friendly course

Designed by Bengaluru-based golf consultant Nandan Heblikar, the course was ready in a record time of 18 months during the Pandemic. Nandan says, “For many decades, the EPGC was all brown; With an increase in the number of golfers over the years, the course was converted to green. When I came here, the brief given to me was to redesign it into a member-friendly course. It was a great team effort with the construction done in-house by the EPGC and some wonderful positive inputs from the members of the club. ” Describing the features of the newly-designed course, Nandan adds, “It has Bermuda Fairways and 75 Bunkers peppered with water bodies on the long holes. It is a very interesting course. ”

The club was started in 1884, primarily for the relaxation of the British. Originally, a nine-hole golf course was located in the area overlooking the sea on one side where the VUDA Park and The Park stand today. However, the golf links were closed during World War I and II when the British citizens were drafted into the Army. It moved to its present location at Mudasarlova in 1964 with the efforts of Raja PV Gajapathi Raju of Vizianagaram and other passionate golfers of the time. Today the club has 1,400 members out of which 300 are active golfers.

A social space

The Redesigned course is defined by the latest Trends in modern architecture, complemented by natural beauty and an endless space and width. The course’s sylvan surroundings are matched by wonderful vegetation management by the EPGC’s Greens Committee. This club also doubles as a social space and members enjoy a host of other services Apart from their camaraderie and bonhomie.

Women playing golf at the East Point Golf Club

Women playing golf at the East Point Golf Club | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

“The entire atmosphere of the club iswarm and inviting. The now amazing beach is experiencing the natural splendor of the location while playing a game of golf. Swooshing through dew on the grass on a winter morning while watching the sunrise over the misty hills is a magical experience, ”says Manisha Bhattacharya, an avid golfer. Manisha plays four times a week on the course. Almost every golfer has to negotiate the gap between the shots she or he is capable of producing, and the ones they actually hit. “You can have a great day from your first shot or an awful one. Sometimes, we are too quick or too distracted. Golf gave me lessons of mindfulness. When your mind is calm and at peace at the present moment, you do well. Golf is addictive in that sense; you strive to do better, ”says Manisha, who is in love with the Redesigned course of the EPGC.

Eager learners

Former cricketer Syed Kirmani preparing to take a swing at the East Point Golf Club at the renovated Championship Golf Course in Visakhapatnam

Former cricketer Syed Kirmani preparing to take a swing at the East Point Golf Club at the renovated Championship Golf Course in Visakhapatnam | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

“The upgradation of the course is certainly a turning point for the EPGC. Now we see a growing number of people who are eager to learn the game. We have structured coaching programs with two coaches. One of the highlights of the newly-designed course is a new driving range for its training academy, ”says secretary of the EPGC, Prashant Sagi.

The upkeep and maintenance of the course are done by the Greens Committee. “We have 75 people who work on the course to maintain it. It is unique for its palm trees and perennial water bodies. Apart from adding Aesthetic value and natural Elegance, the trees enhance the difficulty of the course, ”says MSN Raju, Chairman of the Greens Committee. An avid golfer, Raju spends three hours on the course on weekdays and five hours over the weekend. “It serves a dual purpose – passion and fitness. Golf is a game of concentration. One has to be calm and patient to perfect it, ”says Raju, who was the Winner in the ‘senior’ category at the Captain’s Cup tournament. At 66, what keeps him playing golf day in and day out? “Once you are into this sport, you cannot stay away from the course,” says Raju. “And, the best part of this sport keeps you fit mentally and physically. You are always alert, ”he adds.

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