Hyderabad Golf Club in India has approved a master plan by Richardson | Danner Golf Course Architects that involves an extensive rerouting and renovation of the club’s 18-hole layout, and the addition of a new state-of-the-art teaching academy and practice centre.
Most of the course sits within the 600-year-old Golconda Fort, which is on the United Nations’ nomination list to become a World Heritage Site.
“A lot of work gets described as ‘monumental’ in golf design,” said Danner. “Here we can’t be accused of anything less – Hyderabad is literally laid out within Golconda Fort with its monumental stone walls, towers and structures.”
Danner and design partner Forrest Richardson, who were appointed in early 2022, have incorporated a recently-acquired 10-acre parcel of land in their plan, which will accommodate holes ten to twelve.
“Richardson | Danner rose to the top,” said club president Jayant Tagore Madireddy. “Their experience and attention to detail was ideal for Hyderabad, and their approach to rerouting holes within the historic fort was not only creative but has brought a fresh new design to the club that we are enthused to see come to reality.”
Richardson said: “Our mission was to preserve yet improve. We worked very diligently to create a stronger experience – one that honours and embraces the grandeur of the fort, to unfold as a better journey for players as they make their way through the fort’s walls, up onto the parapets and landings we have been allowed to use as tees.”
Danner describes the routing changes as “delicate, yet bold”. The pair plan to reconfigure the four holes that sit below the club’s new clubhouse into two holes, the new first and eighteenth. This area will also include a newly sited practice facility, short-game venue and indoor training bays. “Visually, we opened the clubhouse views and better positioned the range,” he said. “The result will be a strong opening hole and a breathtaking finishing hole, now without the direct visual interruption of tall nets surrounding the range.”
The new routing will take players through the fort’s narrow passageway after the first hole, to one of the landmark’s main grounds. Golfers will then be able to ascend the fort’s ancient steps to access tees at six holes – two, three, eleven, thirteen, fifteen and seventeen. A halfway house alongside the ninth hole’s tees will serve traditional Indian tea and food, overlooking water gardens, which also form the carry for the drive on the seventh and ninth. There are two alternate holes in the routing, and several holes play along shared fairway areas.
The 600-yard seventeenth hole will take players through the fort’s 30-foot-thick wall to the eighteenth – a par four requiring a carry over water to an uphill green complex. “That walk from 17 to 18 is truly a ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ said Richardson. “It will become iconic in international golf, much like the famous walks we have come to know as we watch players emerge through forests, or even through the famous grandstands at the sixteenth hole of TPC’s Phoenix Open.”
The course will have multiple teeing options, with the most forward playing to 4,281 yards. The back ‘Tour’ tees will play to 7,068 yards, with the club eyeing the chance of hosting tournaments. “Hyderabad is committed to attracting international events,” said Danner. “Accordingly, we went to work finding ways to lengthen the course for these special events, yet not to diminish the experience for members.”
Work on the practice facility began in mid-2022 with the golf course renovation beginning in early 2023. The project is expected to be complete by 2024.