Guys, visited Kashmir for the first time last year...wrote this:

Kashmir is a thing of rare beauty, but rarer is the beauty that is unexplored.
Not far from the Nehru Park on the Dal Lake, ringing with merry shouts of revelers, lie innumerable waterways that confound and delight, taking you past throngs of lotus disappearing into the distance.
For the golfer, the splendor is similarly unrevealed. At the feet of the blue Zabarwan Hill is spread what many regard as the prettiest course in Asia. The access to the course doesn't enthrall, but once you get in, you are certain to fall deeper and deeper in love with the course at each step.
Yet, it has just about 130 members and fewer than 80 people play there regularly. Blessed people, all of them, but to be viable, the course needs to attract more than the professional golfers who make their yearly pilgrimage to it, and in great numbers.
The state government is looking at ways to do something about it, with the chief minister recently announced that the Valley - "heaven" for all for centuries, since Emperor Jahangir declared it to be so - would soon be a golfer's paradise.
The Royal Springs Golf Course is already much akin to the Garden of Eden. For one, apple is available in great profusion on the course - temptation lies at every step. Then the course offers vistas of unmatchable magnificence: From the celebrated par-three fifth, for instance, beyond the green ringed by bunkers and beyond the dense grove of trees, is seen the Dal in complete magnificence.
The landmarks of the town are never too far. Pari Mahal, a craggy old pile of stone and mortar, once a Buddhist monastery and then a Mughal observatory, clings to the spur of a hill and is a constant, ancient companion. The Shankaracharya Temple atop the Takht-e-Suleiman hill, the Char Chinar trees on the lake, the shikaras and houseboats on the lake, all flit in and out of sight.
There are such viewss all around, and golf often is in the danger of becoming incidental - walk through the course, up the hill and down it, near the wild flowers and the fruit trees, past the marshes and the ponds, is in itself greatly satisfying.
The six-kilometer walk of a golfer's round can easily be stretched into a rambling journey, with a without the clubs, if one wants a taste of the bounties of the course - apples, apricots, peaches, cherries, pears and more. The course lies in the catchment area for the Dal and is hospitable to numerous types of vegetation - and also wild animals. People looking for a birdie have been known to be confronted by the unpleasing sight of a bear instead.
Chashme Shahi, the famed spring that is believed holds curative powers, lends its name, in an English version, to the course. The work on the course, which lies in a protected forest area, right next to the governor's residence, was started in 1989 and resumed after a hiatus in 1997. Four years later the course was inaugurated. Australian golf architect Robert Trent Jones II was drafted to design and execute the layout in around 150 acres of land.
Bentgrass, suitable to the Srinagar climate was imported as the local grass dies out in winters. The latest gadgets in golf course maintenance were acquired.
(During and after the construction of the course, the government was severely criticized by environmentalists, who alleged that 10,000 poplar, willow and walnut trees were cut in the protected park to make way for it.)
The golden rule at the Royal Springs is to keep the ball straight, away from the matted, unforgiving rough. This season the rough is especially cruel and many balls and hopes were lost there during the Kashmir Open. The greens, heavy and not particularly fast, are not easy to read - especially the fourth, sloping uphill and against the natural the lay of the land. Five water bodies - three lakes and two marshes - add to the charm and the difficulty.
The Royal Springs can be regarded as a natural, modern version of the gardens laid out by the Mughals as their rendition of Elysium - the most famous of which are the Nishat, Shalimar, Chashme Shahi and Nasim, all within a few kilometers of each other. They are similar, laid out in the typical Mughal style - quadrangular gardens, pathways intersecting at right angles and a stream in the middle.
When in Srinagar, be sure to reside in a houseboat - a break from the monotonously alike hotel rooms. You won't get a genuine taste of Kashmiri hospitality - people have been in the trade far too long for that - but at least an approximation.
The houseboats, somewhat shabby and decrepit when viewed from the lake, can be surprisingly lavish inside. The rooms are well-appointed, the woodwork intricate and the minute library possesses the inevitable Wodehouse and news magazines only from the early 1980s.
My host, a man of around 50, the owner of this remarkable boat, was surprisingly modest in his appearance. Indeed, 14 years of unrest in the Valley have left an indelible imprint on mind as well as on economy, and he had to sell his house - maintaining a houseboat is not inexpensive. He lives with his small family on another houseboat to which he can invite you for a delicious dinner if he likes you.
Depending on how tightly it's moored, the houseboat can rock slightly with the waves of the Dal when it rains hard. It's an agreeable sensation. Early mornings and late nights, when the revelers are absent, and not really missed, are the best time to sit under an awning in front of the boat and drink it all in.
Don't drink the water from the Dal, though - it's green and squalid, a receptacle to all sorts of waste the locals and tourists dump into it. Take a bath if you happen to fall in. I did.
My shikara-wala told me to push at the pier to give us a start. I pushed, pushed too long, and immediately felt the boat slipping away from below my feet. After a heroic struggle for life, lasting around five seconds a foot under water, I managed to grab the boat but couldn't haul myself in - I seemed to weigh around a ton. Mudassar, the boatman, an athlete and a sturdy swimmer, hauled me in, dripping from the very bones.
I'd secured Mudassar's boat as a result of camaraderie with the teenager, who chanced by my houseboat on his boat with a crew of youthful fishermen who had caught nothing edible from the Dal.
The waterway less traveled, behind the Dal and behind the rows of houseboats, is best negotiated with the smallest shikara. The water lanes too narrow, the turns and twists too sharp and the overhanging branches too low for the bigger boats with elaborate canopies.
The daily rides into the backwaters elicit impromptu lessons on zoology, biology and local life from Mudassar. He points out interesting objects of botanic and gourmet interest on the way - vegetables growing in compounds, water fowls and ducks in water. But when we do get hungry, we make do with a cucumber given to us by a lovely girl ferrying vegetables on her boat.
We touch the Nagin lake one day before returning in darkness, and launch an expedition to get a firan - the long Kashmir coat - stitched for me at a small hamlet another day. Everywhere I meet friendly and kind people.
After more than a decade, well over a lakh tourists visited the Valley before July was over. Many of them, mostly foreigners, came to play golf. Kashmir is hoping this trickle turns into a torrent.