Delhi Golf Club
The Delhi Golf Club (DGC) is Delhi's oldest and most prestigious golf club of India. It has ultra restrictive membership, with well over a waiting period of over 50 years for prospective members. It is located on 220 acres of prime real estate on lease from the government, on Dr. Zakir Hussain Road, in the New Delhi Municipal Council area of New Delhi. It is close to Delhi's top tourist sites of India Gate, Humayun's Tomb, Delhi Zoo, and Lodhi Gardens. DGC comprises 18-hole course which is part of the Asian PGA Tour, and a shorter 9-hole course, and sprawling club house with swimming pool.
- 1 History
- 2 Course
- 3 Status of DGC
- 4 Management Committee
- 5 Club Amenities
- 6 Air Quality
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
The original course, called the Lodhi Golf Club, laid out in the 1930s by the then Chief of the Horticultural Department, was much larger than the present walled area, and included parts of present Golf Links and Kaka Nagar. The Lodhi Golf Club, however, had few members, and was barely sustainable, except for a brief period during the Second World War when Delhi was awash with Allied officers who patronized the club. In 1948, the club had eighty members, and in 1951, when it became the Delhi Golf Club (DGC), its membership was no more than 120, and was barely sustainable. The Club was saved from dissolution by Indian officers belonging to the Indian Civil Service, including Dharma Vira, founder member of the DGC, who petitioned Prime Minister Nehru to lease the government land to the club at a low annual rent for thirty years. Since that time, the Government of India has favored the DGC with very permissive lease terms and low annual rents that have no relationship to the actual value of the land. The DGC has evolved as a favorite watering hole for senior Civil Servants, Police Officers and the business and social elite. The walled area of the club includes a large number of interesting Mughal archeological remains such as the famous Lal Bangla.
The course comprises the championship 18-hole "Lodhi Course", which is part of the Asian PGA Tour, and the shorter 9-hole "Peacock Course". The latter came into being when the course was re-designed by Peter Thomson in 1976-77. The DGC hosts various tournaments and cups, such as the Indian Open.
Status of DGC
The DGC was founded as a municipal course. After 1947, it mutated into a corporate entity on 24 February 1950. Since 1956, it has been registered as a company under the provisions of the Companies Act 1956. On 30 August 2013, the Information Commissioner M.L. Sharma, in response to an RTI petition, disagreed with the president of the DGC that the DGC was a company. He ruled that the DGC was a 'public authority', under section 2(h)(d)(i) of the Right to Information Act (RTI), as it receives "indirect financing" from the central Government and has many senior government officers in the DGC management committee. It was thus "answerable to members of the public".
The Delhi Golf Club has an area of 220 acres. The DGC club house, including the course, is on government land. The lease for the land is periodically renewed by the government at a rate which has no relationship to the market value of the land. The current annual rent that the club pays to the government is just Rs 5.82 lakh per year (approximately US$9700 at Rs 60 to a dollar). In 2012, eight years before the lease was due for renewal, Kamal Nath, the Minister of Urban Development in the United Progressive Alliance government, approved extension of the lease until 2050. The DGC has about 4000 members, a majority of whom are serving or retired members of the Indian Civil Services, judges, and politicians. There is considerable clamor to gain membership in the club.
Central government nominees
The DGC management committee has three nominees from the MUD & PA as 'A' category members for a term of two years. Additionally, according to the DGC Rules, every fifth member of the committee is a government nominee with full voting rights.
Reserved membership for civil servants, judges, lawyers and politicians
The majority of DGC members are former or serving civil servants and high officials. In addition to these permanent members, the MUD & PA has, according to the DGC rules, the right to nominate 150 civil servants posted in Delhi with the pay grade of Joint Secretary and above as tenure members. This is in addition to the 20 members that the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justice of Delhi High Court have the right to nominate; and 5 senior law officers that the Law Ministry nominates.
Membership for "Rich-and-Famous"
In 2012, after the Government renewed the lease of DGC, the Ministry of Urban Development recommended eighteen persons for DGC membership. These included a "famous fashion designer, a junior Central Minister, the son of the Chief Minister of a northern Congress-ruled state, a couple of high-profile lawyers and a senior bureaucrat". The Ministry, in a letter to the DGC management, informed that "it would nominate a total of 25 people under the 'Limited Playing Rights (LPR) regular membership category' and 15 under 'Out of Turn Regular membership category' over a period of time".
The DGC management committee consists of a President, a Course Captain and twelve general committee members, excluding government nominated members. Posts on the management committee are filled through election. These are usually held in September.
Rajesh Dhingra has been appointed as President for 2014-2015.
Raj Nath Khosla has been appointed as captain (CEO) for 2014-2015.
The DGC, despite its many acres, has not escaped Delhi's poor air quality. In the evening illumination, as well as the early morning sun, "the shroud of carcinogenic particles hovering above the bunkers and greens" are very visible.
- "Information Commissioner claims elite Delhi Golf Club with 30-year waiting list leases government land worth Rs 47,000 crore for 'petty' sum". MAIL TODAY BUREAU. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Delhi Golf Club". Delhi Golf Club. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Shukla, Retired IAS, Avay. "Kejriwal's Delhi Dharna – This is not anarchy, Mr Home Minister, This is Revolution". Hill Post. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- Gallagher, Fran (May 2012). "New Dehli, India, The Delhi Golf Club, The Lodhi Course". Global Traveller. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "Old-timers rue show of wealth in Delhi Golf Club articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-27/delhi/34126046_1_senior-club-members-delhi-golf-club-prominent-clubselections". Times of India. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "17 candidates for 14 positions in Delhi Golf Club elections.". thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- HARRIS, GARDINER (25 January 2014). "Beijing's Bad Air Would Be Step Up for Smoggy Delhi". New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- BEARAK, MAX (7 February 2014). "Desperate for Clean Air, Delhi Residents Experiment with Solutions". New York Times. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
Media related to Delhi Golf Club at Wikimedia Commons