In an effort to promote "golf tourism" in and around this city, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO) has joined hands with leading golf clubs of the region to allow golf lovers to use all the facilities at these clubs, normally not available to non-members.
At the same time, they can enjoy beautiful locales of Chandigarh and surrounding areas with their families.
"CITCO has tied up with three leading golf clubs of the region. Now tourists just need to pay the hotel tariffs and they can enjoy all golfing facilities at these clubs. We have many lucrative packages to attract more tourists," CITCO managing director D.K. Tiwari told IANS.
CITCO runs three hotels in Chandigarh, including the five-star Mountview. The agreement is with the Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC), the Chandigarh Golf Association (CGA) and the Panchkula Golf Club.
The package includes a complementary visit to Chandigarh from Delhi by Shatabdi Express train or a luxury bus, pick up/drop at the Chandigarh railway station and local conveyance from the hotel to the golf club.
The green fee will also be paid to golf clubs by the hotel.
"There are special weekday and weekend packages available for working professionals and for students. We want tourists to come here with their families, play golf and visit the famous destinations of the region. There are many attractive and subsidised offers for students who want to learn and play the game," Tiwari said.
Chandigarh Administrator S.F. Rodrigues, who came up with the idea of integrating golf with tourism around two months ago, launched the project.
"Chandigarh has vast potential to emerge as one of the finest golf destinations in the world and I am happy that we have made a right beginning. Now golf is not only the game of the elite. Gradually it is spreading wings in every strata of society," said Rodrigues.
"These three golf courses are considered among the best in the country, with well-laid courses and lush green environs. Therefore we are expecting an enormous response," he added.
Chandigarh has produced champion golfers such as Jeev Milkha Singh, Irina Brar and Parineeta Grewal.
The golf clubs are very enthusiastic about the project and are expecting a good response.
"The golf sport industry is worth $10 billion and it is the fastest growing mainstream sport that attracts individuals from all age groups. At this juncture, this is a very encouraging step of the administration," CGC president B.S.Gill told IANS.
"Word-class facilities of golf are available in Chandigarh; so we can easily market our golf courses across the world," he added.
CGC, the oldest golf course in Chandigarh, was established in 1960 and is adjacent to the Sukhna Lake promenade.
C.S.R. Reddy, president of CGA, said: "This unique concept where we have joined tourism and golf cannot exist in any other sport. Now people can come to Chandigarh, enjoy sightseeing and also try their hand at golf."
"At CGA, we have a well-equipped golf academy where international standard coaches are available. Learning golf abroad is very expensive as compared to India and so we are also targeting NRIs and other foreigners who are willing to come here to learn golf," he added.