I t’s either sweat or rain during monsoon season on Nepal’s golf courses. But, we golfers are a specific sucker-for-punishment breed.
Rain, shine, snow, hail; we will keep playing no matter what nature throws at us. My first experience on a golf course in Nepal was during the monsoon’s humid heat, and it would be fair to say I was a frustrated hacker by the end of the round. Not only are the courses in this wonderful country exquisitely difficult, they are even harder and potentially more hazardous during monsoon.
The key to enjoying golfing in the rain is being prepared, using common sense and timing it right. Seasoned players are in the habit of waking early to beat the heat and rain, while some play later in the day. But because it rains mainly at night, the course is soggy in the mornings. The afternoons may be hotter, but they are drier. While the weaker ones resign golf bags to the broom closet during the monsoon, those playing continue to improve their games.
Just visit the Royal Nepal Golf Course in Kathmandu on Saturdays, Sundays or Wednesdays, to see the vibrant culture continuing through the dreary months. Teeing off at 7am, troops of Gurkhas take to the course for their rounds to beat the heat and, on Saturdays plenty of young aspiring golfers take to the range to hone their swings.
The best-known courses in Nepal, Royal Nepal and Gokarna Forest Retreat, are unique, but there are three other courses in Pokhara, Dharan and Devachuli.
Having played in four of these to write this review, it is fair to say each has its own challenges and charm (see map).
Golf is simultaneously frustrating and rewarding at the best of times, but more than usual when playing during the monsoon season. Squelching down the fairways, players have to not just contend with the heat and rain which are not unique by international standards, but also leeches, mosquitos, livestock and wildlife in the greens. (And watch out for the snakes.)
The balls plug into the turf, but courses typically allow for placement and cleaning of the balls. It is a hassle many have to contend with and getting the ball to run down the fairway is almost impossible.
Also read: Practice golf, Claire Li Yingxue