Kashmir revives its golfing passion

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Srinagar, Oct 30 : With the valley regaining its charm and prosperity that was tarred due to the Amarnath land row agitation, golf has regained its lost popularity.

The number of golfers is finally picking up as over 350 golfers have come to the Srinagar golf club to enjoy the game.

The organisers are upbeat as they believe that if the growth continues at the same pace, golf can reach new heights in the valley.

"Many people are coming to play golf here. Earlier, there used to be just ten to fifteen people. Now, we have 300- 350 regular golfers. Golf is improving day-by-day and if it continues this way, we will have to do advance booking to Tee off," said Farooq Shah, director tourism, Jammu and Kashmir.

The Valley has recently gone through the worst turmoil. The two-month-long agitation led to massive economic and social damage.

Tourism was deeply hurt. Though it managed to limp back, sporting activities have taken a long time to regain their position.

Adding to the woes have been the constant militant attacks that have become a regular hurdle.

Fear is one of the major reasons that hold back the people from coming to the Valley.

"Kashmiri's are very hospitable people. They love to see people to come here and play golf. Iys one of the best places to come especially in this season," said Mohammad Farooq, a golfer.

Kashmir was once a top Asian and European tourist destination, popular among skiers, trekkers, anglers and river rafters. It has an array of verdant golf courses in Srinagar and Gulmarg.

The golf course at Gulmarg is one of the prettiest ones. Located at 3730 metres above the sea level, it is the highest green golf course anywhere in the world. By Nadeem Khan

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