Friday, February 3, 2012

india Close Encounters of the Golf Kind

India’s golf industry has been invaded by aliens –- aliens who hope to have very close encounters with the nation’s upwardly mobile home buyers.

No, they’re not extraterrestrials. They’re Hari and Venkat Challa, the principals of Hyderabad-based Aliens Group. Since 2004, when they founded their company, the brothers have been committed to, in their words, “revolutionizing the urban landscape of modern India.” It’s a large, even other-worldly ambition that’s reflected in their motto: “We are young, we dream big.”

The Challas’ “alien” mentality is about to manifest itself in a golf community that will take shape on 1,500 acres in Shamshabad, a suburb of Hyderabad. Aliens Hub, the brothers say, will be a “city retreat resort” inspired by the “new-age cities of the world,” Singapore primary among them.

Though the Challas brothers aim to break India’s development conventions, Aliens Hub will appear familiar to earthlings from advanced golf nations. Its foundation includes villas, resort-style hotels, office space, an international school, and a 27-hole “signature” golf complex. What sets it apart -– what gives it “the edge of a modern developed city” -– appears to be its air strip (accompanied by fly-in houses) and its helipad. (Would it surprise you to learn that Hari Challa is a pilot?)

The brothers say that they’ve acquired a little more than half of the property they need for Aliens Hub, and they promise to open a three-hole practice course and a driving range by end of 2013.

Some information in this post originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.