Golf boom in Afghanistan

There is action again on Afghanistan's golf clubs. The country is rediscovering its passion for golf after the Taliban regime.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Afghanistan is rediscovering its passion for Golf. The game had to be given up and the golf courses closed during the Taliban regime. Now with the Taliban gone, there is action again on the country's golf clubs. Neglected for more than a decade due to the political turmoil in the country, the nine hole course set among rugged hills and mountains on the outskirts of Kabul doesn't boast of any fairways or greens. The clubhouse is collapsing and has no walls. But despite all that golf is back in Afghanistan. Sunny days ahead "During the war against the Russians we were forced to close down. When the Mujahideen came, we opened again. Then it was closed down when the Taliban took over. But we opened again after they were driven out," said Mohammad Afzal Abdul, Golfer. 46 year old Mohammad Afzal Abdul was a young boy when the course was built and is the one player who's been part of the on-again off-again history of the club. The original course was built by the Afghans during the reign of Mohammad Zahir Shah, but moved to its present site after the King's cousin overthrew him in 1973. The present course though throws up immense challenges for any player--the first hole for example, a 371-yard par 4, drops sharply then flattens out across a barren, rocky stretch crossed by a gravel road. Not an easy job for a caddy who, has to run ahead to spot balls that otherwise easily disappear in the parched near-white earth. But setting aside all these problems Abdul is optimistic about the future of his favourite sport. And he has reason to be. Already 10 foreigners have come to play at the newly opened course and the latest entrant, his student, 21 year old Sebghatullah, eager to learn the game. And while Sebghatullah may not have the swing of a Tiger Woods, he definitely has the right amount of fighting spirit and enthusiasm. "I am ready and I am preparing myself to participate in any golf competition outside of Afghanistan or anywhere in the world. I am ready," said Sebghatullah, student. Though it may take quite a while for an afghan player to make it to the PGA circuit, the enthusiasm of these players shows that the game is ready for tee off.