The organisers are hoping the event will match the resounding success of cricket's Indian Premier League, which subsequently gave rise to similar Twenty20 ventures in Australia, and elsewhere, with the "snappy" format attracting new fans to golf if all goes according to plan.
The floodlit evening tournament will feature eight teams of four players battling it out over 3 days, with three stroke play rounds of 14 holes, to be over within 3 hours, and finishing on an 'all-or-nothing' Par 3 hole. This format is aimed to catch the maximum number of viewers after office hours.
Each team comprises two players who have made a mark at international level, an Asian Tour star and an upcoming Indian player, selected at an auction held in Mumbai last month. Darren Clarke Clarke fetched $55,000 and will play for Uttarakhand Lions, a team co-owned by India's Test spinner Harbhajan Singh. Cabrera was snapped up for $55,000 by the Maharashtra 59'ers, who also have tournament organiser and Indian professional Shiv Kapur on their side.
Said Clarke; "I was not sure this could be pulled off. But here I am, with so many fine players from across the world. And the course is absolutely superb. Such lovely views."
Course Designer, David Hemstock, has been supporting the management team with preparation of the course. Colonel S K Sinha, who was with David from the beginning of the design and construction process in 1997, is the manager of the golf course and 5,000-acre resort site, owned by the Sahara Group.
David is currently working on a new 18-hole championship course fi northern India for the PEARLS group, main sponsors of the GPL.
"There is a novel and pragmatic view of golf emerging from India in particular, with shorter and quicker forms of the game being actively progressed. There are many prestige golf developments going on in the country, but also a desire by developers to fit practical golf facilities into their scheme" says David. "These are Par 3 courses, sub-5,000 yard layouts, and even a 5-hole course requested by one recent client. It's good for golf".
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