When the European Tour landed in India last week for the Avantha Masters it beamed pictures around the world of golf in a mysterious and humid corner of Asia.
If you found J.B Kruger’s win around a track with coarse grasses and burnt brownish greens compelling viewing, then you will like a new book about one man’s journey to play the former colonial golf courses of the British Raj in India.
Grant Gordon’s Cobras in the Rough has shades of the excellent book ‘Preferred Lies’ by Andrew Greig, who embarks on a spiritual journey around the far flung links courses of Scotland following the death of his father.
Similarly Gordon, a radio presenter and screen writer sees his life descend into freefall after his father’s passing.
Publisher Constable Robinson, says of Cobras in the Rough:
“Having long been obsessed with the British in India, and in particular what they did for recreation, Grant sets out to find the golf courses the British built under the Raj and to play them.
Along the way, he has a golf lesson on the highest golf course in the world, in the mountains of Kashmir; negotiates cobras, peacocks and monkeys in Delhi – on a course moulded by the British around the ruins of a Mughal emperor’s palace; has a round with Indian Army colonels in the shadow of Everest.
He gets drenched several times over on the wettest golf course on Earth and searches on Tiger Hill for Darjeeling’s lost British golf course.
In Agra, he tees off in full view of the Taj Mahal, while in Lucknow, the ghosts of the famous siege during the 1857 Mutiny seem to affect his swing.
Throughout, he is faced with the challenge of getting his golf clubs to increasingly obscure locations, using an array of quirky transport.
As Grant travels across India, he slowly begins to understand the relationship he had with his father.
COBRAS IN THE ROUGH is a book about golf but also about fathers and sons, and the ways in which they follow, or refuse to follow, in each other’s footsteps.”
Cobras in the Rough by Grant Gordon is £12.99 from Constable and Robinson, and is also available at www.amazon.co.uk
If you like this blog post you might like to read Global Golfer’s travel feature on golf in Sri Lanka. Writer Matthew Moore travelled around the country’s three most famous golf courses in a battered old Datsun intermingled with occasional tuk-tuk journeys, roadside stops for coconuts and similarly encountered his fair share of cobras in rough and on Sri Lankan fairways.