New Delhi : The verdant setting at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) is for the first time stretching beyond the 7,000-yard mark. The course, renowned for its tricky layout and vicious rough and bushes will throw a tougher challenge to golfers at the $500,000 Hero Honda Indian Open this year, as the distance is increased by 126 yards.
A series of changes on three of the crucial holes, including two par-4s has taken it to 7,014 yards.
The tee at the tenth hole, opposite the clubhouse and next to the practice green, has been pushed back and the yardage has swelled from the previous 428 yards to a tougher 474-yard par-4.
The par-4 on the third also sees an increase from 411 to 443 yards, but the most challenging change has come on the par-3 seventh hole. From a modest 182 yards, it has been turned into a monstrous 230-yard par-3 three, where a par would be a satisfying effort for most golfers.
According to Ranji Chaudhari, the DGC captain, “The idea is to avoid having a repetition of last year, when three players, including winner Jyoti Randhawa, posted record low scores at this club. We wish to make the course challenging and ensure more enjoyable golf,” he said.
The natural layout of the course has been utilised to add to the challenge. Another change is that the fairways have been extended in areas where the slopes roll towards the rough. This will mean harsher punishment for errant shots.
The Hero Honda Indian Open will have a star-studded cast this year with some of India’s finest golfers competing, Jeev Milkha Singh returning home for an event after four years, the defending champion Jyoti Randhawa and two past champions — Firoze Ali, who won in 1998 and veteran Ali Sher, who won twice in 1991 and 1993.
Also in the fray are two other past champions, Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, the winner in 2005, and the 2004 champion Mardan Mamat from Singapore.
Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero Honda Motors, said: “The Hero Honda Indian Open is going to see a lot of action this year with the participation of Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa trying to defend the title.
“It is indeed a treat for golf lovers in the country to see these Indian players vie for honours with top-notch international golfers at the Delhi Golf Club. The participation of these players, $500,000 as increased prize money and live telecast of the event – all these together certainly make the Hero Honda Indian Open the most eagerly awaited golfing event in the country.”
This year marks the third successive season that Hero Honda has title sponsored the tournament.
The Indian Open, the oldest running international sporting event in the country, will be played from Oct 11-14 and will be broadcast live on Star Sports.
The changes at the DGC:
Hole 3: Par-4 — Current yardage: 411; New yardage: 443
Hole 7: Par-3 — Current yardage: 182; New yardage: 230
Hole 10: Par-4 — Current yardage: 428; New yardage: 474