What many observers think could be India’s most exciting golf course has moved a step closer.
The Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) has appointed English golf architect James Edwards to oversee the design and construction of its planned eighteen hole course within the historic Golconda Fort complex, the former stronghold of the Qutb Shahi kings.
HGA was formed in 1992 with the aim of building an international standard course for the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. After ten years, the association identified the planned site, which incorporates around 110 acres (45 hectares) of the Naya Quila section of the Golconda fort, as well as some land outside the fort, and persuaded the state government of Andhra Pradesh to zone the site for golf.
Edwards, whose experience in India includes working as project architect on Swan Golf Design’s acclaimed renovation of the Karnataka Golf Association course in Bangalore, said: “To be asked to transform a site of such historical importance into a golf course is a heavy responsibility, but hugely exciting. We are determined that the course will enhance the environment of the historic Golconda Fort and play an important role in the development of the area. Virtually no earthmoving will take place within the fort to protect the sensitive environment of this hugely important site and, in particular, we are investigating the use of reed beds to purify the black water (sewage) that is so often an issue in India. It is our hope and main focus that the formation of the golf course will help preserve the Fort, and put a stop to the steady degeneration that has occurred to the walls and other features, through neglect and damage by local inhabitants.” All permanent buildings will be constructed outside the fort.
The golf course design will include returning nines with four new holes on the land outside the fort, which HGA currently uses to play six holes, and fourteen within the fort itself. “Both nines explore the most interesting and historic parts of the site, and our design creates a good range of holes, with a nice balance within and between the nines,” said Edwards. “Holes play to all points of the compass, varying the effect of wind throughout the round.” The par-72 course is expected to stretch to around 7,000 yards.
Well-known Indian golf consultant Nandan Heblikar of Bangalore-based Golf Designs will be working alongside Edwards and responsible for project management and agronomy.