The Ooty golf course follows the soft contours of downland, with its tonsured effect of tree-bare heights, ringed with gorse and thickly wooded copses of eucalyptus, oak, rhododendron and fir in the hollows. The course is surrounded by the thickly wooded Avalanch Range.
The altitude of 7,600feet, a few degrees above the equator, provides a combination of light and thin air which is a near intoxicant, and the ball travels much further than it would in the plains because of the rarefied atmosphere. The Ooty golf course is not only scenic but also quite trying, and it would be wise for the visitor to play only nine of the 18 holes on the first day.
Nine of the 18 holes on the Ooty golf course are blind in that you cannot see the green from the tee because of the undulating landscape. Guide posts fixed on the intervening ridges give the player the necessary directions. The most gruelling hole on this course is the fifth, all uphill and a good 200 feet higher. But the green is rewarding, with a breathtaking view across the hill ranges. The most exciting green is undoubtedly the 13th. It’s here that the player could be interrupted by the baying of hounds as he bumps into a fox hunt in progress. Dating back to 1847, the Ooty hunt has carried on uninterrupted, and Class I foxhounds and beagles are still bred and trained here.
The Ooty fairways are lush but tight, and the greens are large and well maintained. A unique feature of the Ooty greens is the fencing that protects them from the wild animals that occasionally stroll on the course. In fact, a pug mark or a hoof print is a free lift! Where could anyone play more challenging golf?
Crowning the Nilgiri mountains in the south of India is the town of Ooty, as Ootacamund is more popularly known. Viewed from Coimbatore (89 km), the blue mountains, as the Nilgiris literally denote, seem to be permanently enveloped in blue. This could be brought about by the large number of gum trees that dot the mountain side, or by the gentle mist, which is so characteristic of the local weather. Ooty, at an altitude of 2,286 metres, is characterised by gently undulating downs and neatly planted tea gardens. It was Ooty’s Wenlock Downs that caught the eye of Col. Ross Thompson, who wasted no time in converting the spectacular area into a golf course, and founded the Ootacamund Gymkhana Club in 1896. The Wenlock Downs closely resemble the South Downs of Sussex, complete with yellow flowered prickly gorse bushes.