Golf Link in Shillong was the first 18-hole golf course in India. But it is not just for people who can swing the golf club; it is open to common people as well. The extraordinary beauty of the place invites not just golfers but everyone who cares about beauty. It is also called ‘Gleneagles of the East’ because of its natural beauty and resemblance to the Gleneagles by the United States Golf Association Museum.
In 1898 the Golf Link began with only 9-hole course, but it was converted into 18-hole course in 1924 by Captain Jackson. It is one of the best things the British left behind in Shillong. Standing here, I could imagine the place all covered with pine trees before the Bristish came. They saw the potential and the beauty of the place. The locals could not have spared such luxurious land for a silly game of hitting a small white ball. They would be more interested in using the land for cultivation and other purposes. If this was not done, this place would have been terrace rice fields or occupied by big houses. Shillong’s golf course is located at the lower valley near the Polo ground. It consist of many small knolls covered in green carpet that rise and fall like gentle waves; and occasionally dotted by golden pine trees. Few years ago it was a secluded place but now people have moved in closer and the risk of losing this beauty to indifferent behaviors has increased.
Often frequented by college students and school kids, it is Shillong’s favorite playground. The open space sets you free like a free bird. It has also featured in several films and TV shows. The Golf Club House at one end of the golf course was built in British style is a great attraction for first timers.
There are not many places in India where you can casually visit a golf course. Many of these are owned by private companies and they spent a lot of money for maintenance. Shillong Golf Course looks very natural. There are no fences to ward off outsiders and it looks more like a public property.