Monday, October 15, 2007
Our Mission Statement
But OTOH, on the other side of the world (OSOW), they have a more elemental POV . . .
“People need to play golf.”
-Mohammad Afzal Abdul
Kabul Golf Club
A Golf Course Where Water Is No Hazard (subscription required)
For several years, Mr. Abdul, 48, has nudged his dreamy vision closer to reality, by about the same small degree that Afghanistan has moved toward lasting political and economic stability. Now, this barren patch of earth is, at least in name and spirit, a golf course.
It is the Kabul Golf Club, Afghanistan’s only one, and Mr. Abdul, who picked up a putter for the first time when he was 10, is its director and golf pro.
The nine-hole course is extraordinarily rugged by any standard. It has no grass and no delineation between the fairways and the rough, and the greens — the course rules call them browns — are a concoction of sand and oil packed with a heavy roller and swept with a broom vaguely resembling those dragged along the base paths at the seventh-inning stretch in baseball.
When it opened in 2004, the course was a charming oddity that reflected the ascendant optimism of the time and seemed to point toward a brighter Afghan future. Recovery was in full swing , as development money, aid workers and diplomats poured into the country. Scores of foreigners came to play each week. Sensing that his dream of an emerald course was within reach, Mr. Abdul dug a grid of ditches across the course in anticipation of a modern irrigation system.
But three years later the ditches remain empty of pipes, the flow of players has dropped to about a dozen in a good week and the course is as forlorn as ever.
With the economy still a wreck, crime on the rise, aching poverty everywhere and Taliban fighters resurgent, the course now seems wildly out of place.
Well! The ignorance & arrogance of the writer of course is guaranteed by his hosting organism, the New York Times, but rather than ranting, I will just point out these salient facts:
- there are still sand-greens in west texas, which I suppose marginally is less desolate than Afganistan, but almost as dry . . .
- the British met the adversity of WWII interferance with their golf with equal determination and an aplomb that is uniquely British
- there are solitary golf courses in Russia, China, & Tahiti that are equally interesting in their uniquity