Mussoorie Once Had ‘Mackinnon Golf Course’
azzayindia | December 12, 2008 at 09:25 pmby
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While the Politicians and sport fraternity in Mussoorie are raising their voices for a sports centre in Mussoorie they are not aware the Hill Station town once prided itself on a 10 hole Golf Course called MacKinnon Golf Park. It was a property of Mussoorie development Co. Owned By Mr. Mackinon during British era in 1922.The British Army were fond of Golf and the first sports arena to be build was this MacKinnon Golf Park by Mr. Mackinnon who was one of the pioneer in developing Mussoorie .His portrait still hangs in reference room at Mussoorie Library situated in Kitab Ghar. MacKinnon also published in 1842 a weekly newspaper called “The Hills”. MacKinnon Pump also is named after him. He became a well known figure in Mussoorie during those days.Mackinon had the knack for Business. He also owned MacKinnon Brewery in Hathipaon.realising that the wives of the British Army personal loved Golf he ventured into making a Golf Course in late 19 century. The evidence of the 10 hole golf course is available in a Book called ‘Mussoorie Guide and Souvenir of 1922” Published by Major F.Cook (late) R.E.Vijay Singh Negi an eminent documentary film maker on Garhwal said that it was by accident one day when he was browsing through the trunks left by His father Late SS Negi, he came across this guide which had pictures of The golf Course and documents related to it. To his astonishment he found that the Mackinon Golf was situated near Park estate or the area around George Everest. Speaking Exclusively he said that the remains of the Golf Park have vanished due to the rampant selling of the land by the Builders and Land Mafias.
According to Vijay Singh Negi “The Mussoorie Guide published in 1922” describes at length the Mackinon Golf Course. It states that the course was situated three miles to the west of the station in the park area on the southern slope of the hill overlooking the Doon and formed one of the many attractions of the popular pleasure resort. The book also says that for a keen golfer a visit was ideal days sport and outing and if accompanied by a feminine worthy of his steel that provided a testing ground second to none in India.”
The book further states that the links consisted of nine holes and were perhaps the most sporting in the country.
It is also mentioned in the book that any variation from the straight and narrow way was heavily penalized. Bogey was 40 for the whole course who could succeed in it. Clubs needed were driver, driving Iron, lofting Iron, Brassie, Niblick, Mashie and Putter.
The first hole was 111 yards long, pleasant and easy beginning with Lofter ¾ shot that was purposely designed short to put the player on Good terms with him and himself. The second Hole was 172 yards Blind in which Brassie was used. Overplay was penalized by getting into a rough Nullah.Green in 1 was possible and the stroke properly played provided one of the prettiest I the round. In the third hole 182 yard it was advised to use the driver and hit well and straight. A pulled shot here which could be disastrous in this hole that was fascinating hole by no means as easy as its appearance indicates. In the 4th hole 250 yards an initial pull was equally fatal that was a Cup green and after the opening drive required care and skill to approach. In the 5th hole 250 yards driver and good straight play with no difficulties was advised accept to those who go off the direct line. In the 6th hole 412 yards that was difficult one to try the metal of any Golfer. In this Hole Driver was to be played straight along the Nullah to the green or by slicing across the nullah and then by a full lofting shot over the trees to the approach and thus ultimately to the Green. The 7th hole 244 yards, Driver and Mashie across to ravine both of which were shallow and playable Fairway fairly open.
In the 8th hole 137 yards, Driver over one shallow ravine was advised. In which a cleek or driving Iron in the hands of a good player would carry the green.
The 9th Hole 200 yards high drive over to ravines was the largest green of the Course and second best sporting hole in the round. In the 10th hole that was No Bogey, a long drink was necessary preferably from the brewery of MacKinnon.
Comparing the Mackinon Golf Course, The Mussoorie guide boasts that the two rounds(36 holes) at Prestwick Golf Course were equal to one round of the above. The Prestwik Golf Club was also founded around the same time in 1851 by a group of members who met the Red Lion Inn,Prestwick.The earl Of Eglington was the first Captain of the club, and presented a gold medal for the annual competition. The first Open Championship was held at Prestwick in 1860.
The Mackinnon Golf Course was the place where lovers met occasionally during the British Raj,The to view the Golf along with their pets.Golf balls were frequently lost in ravines for which the Indians assisted in fetching for a small amount of money.
AR Vijan a keen amateur Golfer from Dehradun who represents ONGC said that he is was excited to hear about this new discovery. He also said that Golf is the best game for relaxation and to be with nature. He also said that Golf is becoming rapidly popular in Dehradun too and if this historic Golf course could be re-started then it will be a great for all the golfers and will generate extra revenue for the Nagar Palika Mussoorie and help in promoting Golf in Uttrakhand.He further aid that Golf Tournament in Mussoorie would bring the town to International Tourist Map in a very grand way.Their is no evidence left of Mackinnon Golf Course in the area, as it has been neglected and the land has been sold by the Mafia, but if revived it could beome a “Mashroba” of the hill station town once again.
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