Sri Lanka is relatively unknown in the field of Golf but surprisingly has four of the finest 18-holecourses in Asia. Sri Lanka’s relationship with golf began more than 125 years ago, dating back to the colonial times, when the British imagined to play golf next to their tea estates, in Nuwara Eliya, known as the little England.
The first Golf Club was founded in 1889, and its Golf Society created an amateur golf championship immediately after the British one. Thus, the second oldest National Golf Championship in the world.
The four golf Clubs are in Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota. Colombo and Hambantota are at the seas level, Kandy at 600 meters height and Nuwara Eliya at 2070 meters above seas level. You experience golf on three different climates, elevations, terrain, flora and fauna. The pleasure of this discovery contributes to make this golf tour a great experience and will bring a real improvement and flexibility in your play.
THE ROYAL COLOMBO GOLF CLUB
20 minutes from most of the hotels in Colombo
The Royal Colombo Golf Club was established in 1879 and is one of the oldest Golf Clubs in the region and in the world. It has a large clubhouse with facilities for dining, a well-equipped Golf shop and well maintained dressing room with hot and cold water on tap.
The Course is easily accessible, being in a 20 minutes’ drive from all major hotels in the city and about 35km from the main Colombo International airport.
The course rating is 70 lengths, 5776m long (par 71). The Grass on the Greens is a Blue Grass mixture. A flat course with broad fairways, which looks simple to beginners but there are many water hazards and well-guarded bunkers, which quickly change the option. There are many water holes. The most dramatic hole is Hole No.5 which is beside a picturesque railway line, 280 yards and has a dog leg to the left. The railway line is out of bounds, with a pond running beside it up to 350 yards, from a tee.
THE NUWARA ELIYA GOLF CLUB
230km from Colombo or the airport – 100km from Kandy
The Nuwara Eliya Golf Course is 6190 feet above sea level and five hours from Colombo by car, which is reputed to be one of Asia’s finest, is 5528m long (par 71). It is a picturesque 18-hole course situated in the heart of the town with the greens shrouded in mist some of them on the edge of thick jungle where leopards once roamed. The fairways are long, narrow, and boarded by fir trees and thick bushes.
It demands skilful “position play” and the hilly terrain makes it essential that players can cope with up-hill and downhill lies. The Golf Club is 10 minutes’ walk from Grand Hotel and 180 kilo meters from Colombo. A round of golf in Nuwara Eliya is the ambition of all golfing enthusiasts, both local and foreign.
It has been recognized as one of the best 18-hole courses in the world, with fir trees lining the fairways and a gurgling trout scream running through it. It is also the only course in the world where 15 to 18 hole can be followed by car. The other three holes are carved from a mountain and is known as “Switzerland” and apt description as a cold wind blows down the valley, an exhilarating experience for any golfer.
VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL GOLF AND COUNTRY RESORT
135km from Colombo or the airport
Victoria is Sri Lanka’s first truly International Golf course. The 6800 yard. Par 73 championship course features a host of memorable golf holes. Designed by Donald Steel & Co. the renowned firm of British Golf Architects, the layout has taken full advantage of an extremely gifted site with its rolling terrain, superb views of the Victorian Reservoir, the Knuckles Range and the majestic forest trees through which the course has been skillfully routed.
An opening Par 5 of 518 yards leads to a testing Par 4 with a demanding tee shot. The fourth hole requires an accurate second shot played through a narrow gap between two hill slopes. The short 5th Par of 116 yards has been nicknamed the Terror and calls for a precisely struck short iron to a small rolling green. This is the highest point on the course and the views are splendid. The 7th is probably the most demanding hole on the course. It offers an exhilarating tee shot from an elevated tee position, followed by a long iron played through a gap between two giant Mara Trees.
There are three strong Par 5’s on the back nine, the longest being the 540 yard 16th hole played as a sharp dogleg. The very long accurate hitter may be tempted to cut the corner and reach in two but an error will be severely punished.
The greens, tees and fairways have been planted with imported varieties of Bermuda grass and the greens are built to the specifications of the United States Golf Association. The course is an hour’s drive out of Kandy, which is 115 kilometers from Colombo.
The large 517-acre site with its extensive 8km water frontage offers for more than golf. Indeed the non-golfer will find plenty to do whether it is horse-riding or bike riding along mending waterfront trails or walking, bird watching or even swimming or fishing. The mild sunny climate makes it perfect holiday destination.
Facilities will include a spacious clubhouse in addition to the existing smaller but very charming clubhouse which also has a pro shop. Green fee payers are welcome and golf clubs can be hired if necessary. Two hotels are planned. At present accommodation is available in Digana, a mere 10 minutes away or in the many prestigious hotels in Kandy, which is 30-40 minutes, drive.
Villa sites are also available for those who would like to have a home idyllic surroundings.
SHANGRI-LA GOLF RESORT HAMBANTOTA
233 km from Colombo
Sri Lanka’s first and only golf resort that is set amid a vast coconut palm plantation, offering spectacular views and unique challenges for both casual and seasoned players.
The abundance of nature and wildlife, framed by lakes and the beautiful Indian Ocean sets the scene for a most incredible golfing experience. The 18-hole, 5584 meters (Par 70) course was designed by the Internationally-acclaimed Golf Architect, Rodney Wright, his goal was to design a course that people remember for every hole. He was a strong believer in integrating the culture and environment of the surrounding area into a golf course.
Overlooking the pristine southern coast of Sri Lanka, Shangri-La’s Golf Resort and Spa is located along the ancient Spice Route in a city steeped in rich history. The course is within a 4 and a half hour drive via the Southern Expressway (E01), and is 233 kilometers from Colombo.
The Golf and Country Club provides a wide array of services and facilities for golfers to enjoy their experience in idyllic settings.
The clubhouse overlooks the 18th green and welcomes all golfers and guests. Inspired by Sri Lanka’s colonial heritage, the Club house (Ulpatha) is the perfect place to unwind after a game of golf, with a fine selection of beers, malt whiskies, cocktails and other beverages and snacks. It serves international fare and comfort food, for a relaxed lunch in cool settings overlooking the golf course. The Pro shop avail a wide range of products from a selection of premium golf equipment, caps, polos, shoes and sun glasses, for total comfort and elegance.
The resort consists of 300 luxury rooms and suites, which offer magnificent views of either the manicured golf lawns, the sparkling lagoon, beautiful landscaped tropical gardens or the rugged waves of the Indian Ocean.
The furnishings have been carefully curated to complement the surrounding natural beauty and local culture. Indigenous materials and contemporary style are seamlessly mixed to create a beautiful and personal atmosphere.