Photo: Jordan Fuller.
KATHMANDU: While known the world over for its natural beauty and cultural attractions, Nepal is now gradually becoming a golfing destination.
The game of golf is believed to have been introduced to Nepal by Rana rulers, as some ministers brought along golf clubs and accessories when they returned home from Scotland nearly a century ago.
They began playing golf in the Gaucharan in Kathmandu which resulted in the development of the course now owned by the Royal Nepal Golf Club.
The club was shortened to make way for the construction of the Tribhuvan International Airport. It was developed into an international standard 9-hole course in 1986, and today Nepal has seven golf courses.
Gokarna Forest Golf Resort – No. 8
One of Asia’s most challenging par-3’s, the 8th hole at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort plays a whopping 225 from the far tips.
The green is an unusual crescent shape that wraps its way around a large sleeper bunker that dominates perspective from the tee, and a series of crisscrossing streams make the one-shot hole even more intimidating.
Also to note, Gokarna Forest is home to a troop of mischievous monkeys that create havoc as golfers navigate the forest.
In fact, many golfers choose to use older golf balls, or colored balls to avoid the monkeys from swiping them up, mistaking them for eggs.
Himalayan Golf Club, No. 5 & No. 16
Considered the most exhilarating golf course in Nepal, the Himalayan Golf Club is located in Pokhara, a beautiful lakeside town just a 20-minute plane ride from Kathmandu.
The 6,900 yards, the par-73 track is considered one of the most exotic courses in the world.
The signature 5th hole at Himalayan was selected by leading golf architects as one of the 80 most unique holes in the world.
The only Asian hole to receive this distinction, the recognition places it in contention with the famous Par-3 16th at Cypress Point and the No. 17, Road Hole at St. Andrews.
It is also known to be the only island hole in existence that is built on a natural river.
On the back nine at Himalayan, the par-3 16th hole is considered by many to be the scariest hole they have ever played. Known as “The Abyss,” it features a tee shot that must be hit over a dizzying, thousand-foot gorge.
The Fulbari Resort & Spa – Yeti’s Golf Course, all holes
The Yeti’s Golf Course overlooks the Seti River Gorge, leaving players not only having to navigate the usual water hazards and sand traps but the 300-foot gorges that intersect several holes.
Coupled with the deliberate small greens, narrow fairways and closed out-of-bounds, the 9-hole tract forces even the calmest of players to keep their cool having to drive a number of tee shots over the Seti Gorge.
Compensating for the inevitable frustration caused by the challenges of the Yeti’s Course, the views of the Himalayas to the north and the Seti River far below help to calm things after even the roughest of rounds.
(Jordan Fuller is a golf coach and mentor who loves to travel for golf. He also owns a golf publication site www.golfinfluence.com where he shares some tips on how to improve the game)