The European Tour is playing the Avantha Masters in New Delhi this week. I always enjoy a quick look at overseas golf tournaments because I’m interested in the appearance of the courses and their surroundings. The courses themselves often look very similar to those we see everywhere, but when the camera pulls back for a long shot the view is often entertaining.
I particularly like the views in the Middle East. There’s something in the juxtaposition of the desert, a green golf course, and an isolated cluster of skyscrapers rising above it all that I find pleasingly weird. I saw a tournament last year, in either Thailand or Malaysia, where the architecture of the surrounding buildings was particularly striking, full of minarets and pagodas.
The wildlife wandering on the margins of some of the South African courses is also intriguing. The closest I’ve ever come to anything like that is the alligators in Florida. When I lived there I became accustomed to keeping an eye on the ponds, making sure the gators were minding their own business. Sandhill Cranes are also on some of the courses, and I’ve had a few disconcerting experiences of walking up to a tee box to be greeted by a very tame crane as tall I am.
The New Delhi event is remarkable not so much for the sights, but for the sounds. I was watching wearing headphones so as not to awaken my wife (she’s a night owl and I’m an early bird) and that may have made the sounds more noticeable, but the air was full of constant jungle noises. It was like playing golf in one of those old Tarzan movies I used to watch on weekend TV. The vegetation was very thick and close to the fairway in many places, and apparently it’s full of many beasties and things that go “screech.”
I don’t know what I was hearing, but in the unlikely event that I ever play in New Delhi and hit it in the woods, I’m not going in after it.