Yes, Virginia, There Really is Golf in Nepal
Nepal isn’t know as a golf destination and for good reason, the country doesn’t have more than a ½ dozen and some of them are a little rough around the edges.
Golf was an unexpected addition to my excursion list for Pokhara. The course is only 20 minutes away from the Pokhara Lakeside district and sported some nice photos on it’s website. As far as scenery goes, this place has it hands down. 14 of the 18 holes are carved out of the bottom of a canyon with mountain river slicing the land in half. Annapurna hovers in the background and appears visible on most of the holes.
On top of the already steep green fee of $50, you can opt for a caddy ($10) and a ball boy ($3). The ball boys job
is to run out ahead of you and spot your ball when it lands as the course has many blind shots. He was successful about ½ the time. You can also rent clubs (off brand cavity backed), buy used golf balls (assorted Titleist and Nike balls), golf shoes and gloves. I indulged in some range balls, which was a bag of poor quality golf balls. They have no range picker, it is basically a young boy who picks up each ball after a player has shot.
If you are coming here expecting a well-manicured golf course, you will not find one. This is a golf course that benefits from its natural surroundings more than it does from lush greens and hearty bunkers. The fairways are nothing more than low grass corridors trimmed down by bands of free roaming cows, sheep and goats that patrol the canyon basin. Greens once appeared to be the quality that us Westerns’ cut our teeth on but now have more dirt than grass. Putters became treacherous and lots of 3 hole puts ensued.
The net net, you don’t come to Nepal to play golf well (I didn’t break 90), you come here to marvel in the location and the fact you are playing golf in Nepal. I hope my criticism’s don’t sound too harsh but I found the entire experience so absorbing from all the kids that freely walk along the course and sit down to watch you play (the canyon has many houses along it) to the barbed wire fences that enclose each green (to keep those cows, sheep and goats from eating the grass).
It’s too bad the course doesn’t have the funds to upgrade because it is challenging and rather long and could be an amazing tourist golf destination. When you first enter the property, there are many unfinished homes. They appear to be planned golf villas that never became so after 8+ years of Nepali civil war. There are a stark reminder than Nepal was an up and coming destination with lots of foreign tourism. Tourism is still 1/2 of what it was before the war.