Townships with designer interiors and world-class architecture are passé. Developers are now turning to golf to attract non-resident Indians and high net worth individuals in the premium housing segment. Residential dwellings built around a golf course are the latest buzzword in the super-premium housing segment of the Indian realty industry, estimated at $15 billion and growing at 35 per cent annually.

No wonder big players like Unitech, DLF, Ansal API, Omaxe and Jaypee have already taken the plunge with an array of golf-centric projects. “These high end customers are ready to pay big bucks for a sprawling home amidst the greens with a promise of high class lifestyle,” said a spokesman from DLF. “And even with a hefty price range from Rs.7.5 million to Rs.90 million, these projects have been snapped up like hot cakes,” he further added.

“Golf home projects are exclusive projects. Slight slumps in the market that generally slow down the middle housing segments usually do not affect these projects, as the buyer is exclusive and very selective about the property,” Magu said.

And the trend is fast spreading from metros to emerging cities. For example, Ansal API’s Sushant Golf City Lucknow is spread over 2,000 acres on the outskirts of the Uttar Pradesh capital.

“Earlier golf was restricted to a select group, but it has grown popular over the years with many middle level executives and business class taking active interest in the game,” Banerjee said. And with top-tier Indian players like Jeev Milkha Singh and Digvijay Singh teeing off at $ 2.3 million world tournaments, the sport’s popularity is booming across the socio-economic spectrum.

That is the reason Ansal API are proposing a Royal Palms Golf and Country Club in Lucknow that will offer residents the services of golf trainers and coaches. Even Sahara is providing a golf academy to impart professional golf training in its Amby Valley project built around an 18-hole golf course at Lonavala, 96 km from Mumbai.