By V Krishnaswamy
A major milestone in the history of Indian golf was the formation of the Indian Golf Union (IGU) in 1955. A number of senior golfers realised that the time had come to establish a controlling body for golf in this country. Until then, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club had virtually been the governing body of golf in India, much like the Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. The objective of the Union was to promote and maintain a high standard of golf in the country.
A special honor was accorded to the six leading clubs at that time; The Royal Calcutta Golf Club, The Tollygunge Club, The Bombay Presidency Golf Club, The Delhi Golf Club, The Willingdon Sports Club and the Madras Gymkhana, who were set down in the articles as the founder members.
The first President was Mr AD Vickers, who had worked untiringly to bring the Union into being and was mainly responsible for the preparation of the rules and regulations under which it was to work.
The Indian Golf Union is now affiliated to the World Amateur Golf Council, and has done a great deal to promote golfing in the country. In 1957, it started its first training camp at the Royal Golf Club in Calcutta, where assistant professionals and caddies were brought from all over the country and trained to teach golf.
The All-India Amateurs, as well as the Ladies All-India Amateurs, continued to be played at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. In 1957, IGU decided to rotate the All-India Amateurs between the RCGC, the Delhi Golf Club and the Bombay Presidency Golf Club in Mumbai. The first tournament outside the RCGC was played at the DGC in 1958 and saw the arrival of Ashok Malik, son of IS Malik, who emulated his father's feat of beating Raj Kumar Pitamber in 1956. Ashok Malik went on to become the first golfer to win the title five times. His other victories were in 1960, '63, '67 and '69. The other five-time winner of the All-India Amateur are Captain PG 'Billoo' Sethi (1959, '61, '62, '70 & '72) and Vikramjit Singh (1968, '71, '74, '77 & '79).