An oasis of serenity in the harsh and rugged settings of the Sahyadri Hills, the blossoming Oxford Golf & Country Club (OGCC) was witness to the birth of another innovative venture on Sunday — the Srixon Golf Academy.
The first of its kind in India, the academy will be mentored by Clive Bardsley, an AAA master professional from Australia, as it commenced its journey to unearth future champions.
Armed with 42 bays and latest teaching aids, including swing analysers, the facility sees itself metamorphosing into a "world class" residential academy in the long run.
On its part to broad base the sport, a talent-hunt for two children from economically weaker sections every year was also announced on the occasion.
"The players selected will be provided training at the academy, free of cost, to allow them an opportunity to graduate to the higher tours," said Anil Seolekar, chairman of OGCC.
Apart from the launch, Sunday was also the first time that the outside world got a sneak preview into what is being billed as India's finest 18-hole championship course. Built on a crescent of 150 acres amidst treacherous terrain, this 7030-yard course is part of the 800-acre township that has been envisioned by the promoters.
Apart from the sparkling white sand bunkers, a novelty in this part of the world, OGCC prides itself in its signature hole — the 563-yard 4th, where the players tee off from a height of 30 metres.
Developed by Phil Ryan and his Australia-based Pacific Coast Design (PCD) team, word has it that OGCC has been nominated as the best new course in Asia at this year's Asian Golf Summit. Said Robert Cairns of PCD: "Apart from six scaled down holes to cater to youngsters, the design has been to blend with the natural beauty and to maintain eye appeal by linking to water features, grass colour and the natural features to give the golfers a real sense of pleasure".