Investors' plans for accessible golf in India
A group of Indian and American investors has unveiled plans to improve public access to golf in India.
Aivot Golf and Sports Management has outlined plans to acquire land across India, the world’s second most populous country, and develop 12 new golf venues in the next decade.
Aivot, a technology and artificial intelligence company, has partnered with the PGA of America to develop golf courses, academies, hotels and recreational facilities that will make golf more accessible and inclusive.
Alok Tiwari, CEO of Aivot, said: “Our plans are hugely ambitious. We are trying to create a hub for innovation and excellence in golfer development for India.”
India currently has 175,000 registered golfers and 296 golf courses servicing a population of more than 1.4 billion, according to The R&A’s latest research on global golf participation.
More than 50 percent of Indian courses are owned and controlled by the country’s armed forces and situated on military bases, with restricted access to the public.
The Indian Pitch and Putt Association, an initiative set-up to promote affordable golf events and venues, says that less than 100 Indian courses are open to public access.
International golf architecture practice Lobb + Partners has been appointed to design the new facilities, which will be PGA branded, and located in cities and regions including Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Delhi and the surrounding National Capital Region, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Lucknow.
Tim Lobb, Founder and Principal of Lobb + Partners, said: “As a team we aspire to create world-class golf courses, academies, and outstanding hotel and residential amenities alongside them. This is massively exciting for Indian golf.”
Mumbai, Goa and Hyderabad will be the first courses to be designed, Lobb told Golf Course Architecture.
“The Goa project will be a resort — ideal for an area that is a major tourist destination — but some of the others, nearer to major cities, will be integrated golf communities.”
The Covid-19 pandemic created a surge in the number of Indian people playing golf, with the Professional Golfers’ Association of India, reporting a three-fold increase in sales of equipment, use of facilities and people entering the sport since 2020.
American golf simulator company Five Iron Golf, was among the first businesses to recognise India’s growing demand for golf and has committed to open its second international venue in Delhi.
On the PGA Tour, the growing profile of Indian American golfers Sahith Theegala and Akshay Bhatia, who both won tournaments in 2023, is generating new interest in the sport.
The Indian Golf Union reinstated its national team system in 2023, after a seven year break, thanks to new central government funding.