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    Archived pages: 18 . Archive date: 2014-08.

  • Title: Kabul Golf Club
    Descriptive info: .. Home.. Past.. Present.. Future.. The Teacher.. The Caddie.. The Student.. Press Room.. KGC Golf Shop.. Survey / Contact.. Risk.. Reward.. Honor.. History.. Drama.. Focus.. Character.. These are words we associate with the game of golf.. Now add to the list:.. Courage.. Perseverance.. Struggle.. War.. Survival.. Hope.. And so begin your introduction  ...   a time following the death of Abdul's brother Khan.. He worked with Abdul and was shot by the Taliban for his association with foreigners.. Abdul insisted we return the site, including the page featuring Zabi The Caddie - his son.. Sponsored by Roger Bacon, Student of Golf.. Roger Bacon 2012 All Rights Reserved..

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  • Title: The Land That Golf Forgot
    Descriptive info: The Land That Golf Forgot.. Golf In The Afghan Kingdom.. Afghanistan was introduced to the game of golf by the monarch Emir Hajibullah Khan in 1911, the same year the first American won the US Open.. As was the case with many new golfers, the Emir spent so much time on the new links, his work life began to suffer.. According to a report in the New York Times, his subjects got into the habit of placing petitions into the holes at night in the hope they would reach the Amir when he was putting the next day.. Golf was a personal passion for the Emir, so much so that after his assassination in 1919 he was buried on one of his courses in Jalalabad.. Though Hajibullah had insisted each member of his court take up the game, Afghans in the ruling class.. were not enamored with golf.. The Emir's courses faded and crumbled like so many other foreign conventions which have tried to take root in Afghan soil throughout its history.. Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan.. The Golden Era - 1950's - 1978.. Golf returned to Afghanistan in the 1960's as a push was underway to make the country a tourist destination.. The landlocked and alpine country became known, for a regrettably brief period, as The Switzerland of Asia.. And part of this effort was the construction of the Kabul Golf Club.. For a bit more than a decade, the Kabul Golf Club was a busy and dynamic community of foreigners and well-to-do Afghans who embraced the game of golf.. There was a modest clubhouse with a bar and terrace overlooking the golf course.. The irrigation system was powered by gravity, as water was pumped from Lake Qargha into a water tower located on a hill top high above the course.. The greens-keeper and his crew worked seven days a week, keeping the course and grounds manicured and verdant.. Women were an important part of the culture of this club, with Ladies' Leagues being organized  ...   dug into the fairways, and the Afghan Army's Eighth Division located down the valley, the course was caught in the crossfire of nightly battles between the Mujahideen attacking from the west and the Soviet and Afghan government forces.. Yet the power of golf over its players produced one the of the war's oddest stories, reported by newspapers around the world.. There was a regular pause in the war at Qargha, described by the New York Times in 1987 as The weekly truce arranged informally by the Government and the guerrillas so Western diplomats in the capital could go there to play golf.. Players had to time their drives to avoid hitting soldiers or moving military vehicles.. The Kabul Golf Club had solidified its place as the most dangerous golf course on earth.. With the departure of the Soviets in 1989, the course was strewn with the dangerous litter of war.. However it was the Taliban who finally put an end, if temporarily, to the game of golf in Afghanistan.. They added to the debris on the course by laying mines to detour their own enemies, and perhaps just coincidently, any golfers who may have been tempted to tee off just one more time.. The course lay there patiently, weeds growing around the greens and tee boxes, waiting for the departure of the Taliban.. When the time came to consider reopening the course, herds of sheep provided by Kuchi shepherds, were pastured there.. The sheep contributed to the resurrection of the course by occasionally detonating mines.. Later the Club became a training center for mine removal and was eventually declared mine free, and safe for play.. The Kabul Golf Club reopened in 2004, and has struggled but survived to this day.. The descent into more than three decades of coups d'etat, invasions, civil war brought the little golf course to its knees.. Its return as a fledgling but quite palyable course, hosting only the most intrepid players, is truly one of golf's great stories.. Getty Images.. Photo by Julian Andrews..

    Original link path: /id3.html
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  • Title: Now What?
    Descriptive info: Now What?.. To those who really believe that less is more, the Kabul Golf Club must be.. spectacular!.. Electric power lines have crept across the golf course.. Road construction has whittled the course to five holes.. Waves of violent attacks in Kabul have kept many potential golfers from venturing outside the wire to the golf course.. Despite recent construction efforts, the golf course is in danger.. The Kabul Golf Club cannot be allowed to decay any further.. It's position as the world's toughest and most dangerous place to make a tee time brings it a great deal of macho cachet.. But eventually the fighting will stop and the latest set of guns will begin to rust.. When that happens, the club must be healthy and prepared to greet the new realities.. The Kabul Golf Club is receiving mostly tacit support from the foreign golfing community in Kabul and from interested members of the golf community around the world.. The first injection of this support came from an American, Paul McNeill Jr.. who was working with the U.. N.. when the course reopened.. Mr.. McNeill purchased apparel and accessories like gloves and towels to stock the Pro Shop.. He considered this generosity a real contribution  ...   procurement needs.. Using innovation as well as some seemingly primitive construction and turf management methods, the cost of all this, while not yet accurately calculated, should be a fraction of golf course rehabilitation anywhere else in the world.. It will provide jobs and direction for many people in the area.. The hope and future of any sporting organization is the enthusiastic participation of young people.. The caddies at Kabul Golf Club are an amazing group.. There are caddies who worked with Abdul at the old club in the 1970's.. But most of the caddies are young - some are less than ten years old.. They are an enthusiastic group numbering about 50.. They have taken to golf so passionately that two were chosen to represent their country in the 2010 Asian Games in China, even though neither had ever played on grass.. Every job created here, every young person who becomes engaged in a game rather than the many more nefarious occupations Afghanistan has to offer, brings the country just a tiny bit closer to realizing the dream of peace.. Providing a stable (and green) set of links on which they can develop their skill and spread the golfing fervor seems like a worthy investment..

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  • Title: The Time Is Now!
    Descriptive info: The Time Is Now!.. It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf.. - Robert Lynd.. In November of 2010, a century after golf was first introduced to their country, two Afghan golfers competed in an international field of players during The Asian Games in China.. Following the final putt, they occupied two of the last three places in the event.. Posting scores in the range of the astronomical, the Afghan Team may have experienced one the great victories in the golfing world in recent memory.. It was a veni vidi vici moment (well, without the vici), as they showed up and played for the first time in their lives on living, growing, breathing grass.. They set aside the deprivations of the place where they learned to play and love the game.. They represented their country as a place that will transcend its image as an eternal battlefield.. They experienced an unspoken and very personal victory that has been a part of golf's hold on us for centuries.. The golfing world is also taking interest.. The Kabul Golf Club became a USGA International Member Club in 2012, and the Afghanistan Golf Federation has been an  ...   essence of the game, though changing times have brought a nascent return to basics.. Kabul Golf Club will remain a vestige of golf's heritage for the foreseeable future.. There will be no golf carts or GPS or tanned coeds serving cold drinks on the course.. The goal is simple - to provide a round of golf played on grass, as it has been for centuries, in one of the wildest and most beautiful places on earth.. Play golf on any lush and luxurious course anywhere in the world - they all have their place.. But the round you'll never forget will be the one you played in Afghanistan.. The Dari word on the club's logo is Peace.. While golf courses in the West are dependent on economic conditions and the wealth of their clientele, this is Afghanistan.. During the past 100 years, golf courses have blossomed not as investments but for the love of the game.. And they have wilted and died because of violence, beginning with the assassination of a King.. If you can do nothing else to bring golf back to Afghanistan, you can support the international efforts to bring peace to the country and its people.. Photo courtesy of Grace Chung..

    Original link path: /id1.html
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  • Title: Mohammad Afzal Abdul
    Descriptive info: The Teacher - Mohammad Afzal Abdul.. Mohammad Afzal Abdul - Abdul to his friends, clientele and students -has had a career in golf that defies a good cover letter and resume.. He began.. his relationship with golf more than 50 years after its introduction to Afghanistan, being handed a 5 iron by an American Embassy worker at the age of eight.. He swung, hit the ball, watched its journey, and was, in that moment and for the rest of his life, a golfer.. He landed a spot at the Kabul Golf Club as a caddie, and was quickly promoted to Caddie Master.. As the club become busier, the need for a Teaching Professional arose.. While Abdul may have seemed like a natural for the job, it was not a foregone conclusion that he would get it.. He was required to show his mettle; to earn the position through competition.. Several golf pros from Pakistan were interested, and showed up ready to stake their claim as the preeminent golfer in Afghanistan.. It wasn't even close.. With the resolve of a champion, Abdul crushed the competition, and in 1975 was promoted to the club's teaching pro, manager, bar tender, public relations director and, on more than on occasion, dishwasher, handyman and greens keeper.. The Kabul Golf Club was not a large or complex community.. It was a simple, fun and happy place to socialize and play that other great game which had finally returned to Afghanistan.. It all may have seemed too good to be true - and in fact it was.. The tanks came suddenly.. And when Abdul found them settling in on the seventh fairway, he located the highest ranking Soviet officer in the immediate area and insisted that the tanks and artillery pieces be removed.. Making what was surely a valid assumption regarding the Soviet Army's experience with golf, he explained very patiently that the land they were using was a golf course.. He was escorted from the area.. Back the next day, Abdul once again put the Soviet officer on notice that he would have to take his army and plant them somewhere else.. The Soviets put up with this for two more days,  ...   European golfers, Abdul returned to Kashmir.. He never lost hope that he would return and introduce the game of golf - for the third time in Afghanistan's history.. His country became poorer as the Taliban became more and more deranged.. From Kashmir,.. Abdul watched shocking events unfold in his country, and then on the other side of the globe.. Finally, in 2003, it seemed to make sense to go home and try to put the club back together.. Almost everyone involved in the business of golf for any length of time has dealt with a disaster on the course.. It is part of the man vs.. nature aspect of golf to struggle with weather and clean up the course after a blizzard or hail storm, perhaps even a hurricane or tornado.. For Abdul, the task at hand is to put the pieces of his life and his golf course back together.. Weather events come.. fast, hit hard and then dissipate.. War is a different and far greater peril.. Once or twice a year a journalist will take that wild ride from Kabul to Qargha and do what we used to call a human interest story.. Abdul will give the tour and perhaps a lesson then play a round; he will be.. told how amazing it is to have a golf course here of all places.. His hopes that the.. publicity will lead to enough money to rebuild the irrigation or buy an old Russian tractor will ride high for a week or two, then inevitably fall back down to earth.. The journalists do a good and important job when they visit Abdul.. But they usually forget to write about why helping this guy rebuild his golf course matters, now or ever.. The challenge of gathering the expertise and the money together to rebuild is daunting.. Afghanistan is a violent and scary place.. But those who love golf, those for whom the game has brought meaning and a better life, those people are beginning to stir.. Call, email or write to show your support for Abdul's work.. And if somewhere deep inside, you have the soul of an Afghan golfer and an adventurer, make a tee time..

    Original link path: /abdul.html
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  • Title: Zabi The Caddie
    Descriptive info: Zabi The Caddie.. Of Course You Can Play Golf Without Grass.. But How Can You Play Golf Without A Caddie?.. Zabi the caddie is 15 years old, which means he was born during year two of the Taliban government.. Zabi is from a village between Kabul and Paghman, near the golf course.. He has talent and a passion for the game of golf that puts him on the caddie A List: the most requested caddie at the KGC.. While Zabi knows a lot about golf, he also knows about land mines.. Zabi knows about belted machine guns and armored personnel carriers.. He knows the selector on an AK47 needs to be all the way up for safety and to keep dirt out of the chamber.. He spends his days with guys carrying golf clubs and guys carrying weapons.. When he was little, the fish in the fish farm next to the golf course were harvested with grenades tossed into the deep end.. Kids in Nebraska get a farming and football education.. Kids in Mott Haven get a city and street education.. Kids in Qargha get a wartime education.. Journalists love to describe kids with big challenges as typical teenagers.. Billy is blind or paralysed or orphaned, but at heart he is a typical teenager.. They search for the Holden Caulfield in every teenager, no matter how intense the obstacles they face.. But Holden didn't make it to Afghanistan.. These kids aren t worried about phonies.. They don t have messy rooms or defiant relationships with their parents..  ...   But not.. Zabi, who was then 13, and just as frightened as I was.. The following year, I used my cheap video camera to record interviews with Abdul, the caddies and some people from the village.. When it was Zabi s turn, he was so excited to talk about golf and his future with the game.. He was animated and smiling.. Then the helicopter gunships came in, flying low and fast over the golf course toward us.. I didn t think much about it then just laughed and made a few stupid jokes.. But when I watched the video, in the absurdly safe and comfortable office in my Arizona home, I realized just how scared Zabi had been.. And it hit me war is not something a person, especially a young person, can just get used to.. Every minute of his life, Zabi has waited for something bad to happen.. It has been there, just out of sight, this very real menace.. It has imprisoned, injured and almost killed his father.. It has invaded his country and his village.. It has executed his uncle.. The specter of war was standing behind me when I conducted my ersatz interview and was piloting the helicopters, friendly though they were, as they screamed up the valley and flew over Zabi s head.. I think about that kid all the time.. Sometimes I run with him in a bad dream.. What would he do without golf?.. Let s hope he doesn t have to find out.. Click Here For Zabi's Interview..

    Original link path: /id13.html
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  • Title: The Golf Student's Blog
    Descriptive info: The Golf Student's Blog.. 2014.. 07.. 01.. 2013.. 11.. 2012.. 09.. 2011.. 12.. 08.. Monday, July 21, 2014.. How will we know when the war is over?.. The last time I visited Afghanistan, I found myself running out of money, patience and courage.. On the morning of my last day, I was sitting with the young caddies - all of whom spoke English - and listened as they told me about their plans for the golf course and their lives.. They sat in a circle, shelled almonds and put the nuts in my shirt pockets, so I would have something to eat at the airport.. They gave me a clock as a going away present.. One of them asked me the question I now hear in my dreams: When are you coming back?.. Maybe I can come back when the war is over.. How will we know?.. I'll call Abdul.. I began, thinking he wanted to know how to plan for a visit.. No, no, no! How will we know when the war is over?.. This was a kid whose entire life had swayed to the rhythms of war.. His parents had no real experience living in a country at peace.. His grandparents, if still living, would have only faded memories of a safe and quiet existence.. It has been almost 35 years since Afghanistan first heard the rumor of war.. What will life be like when it actually, finally comes to an end?.. He stood up, and demanded an answer.. Mister, tell us about the war! How will we know when it is really, really come to an end?.. Will it be the absence of the western armies that signal peace? Will a capital city fall; a flag be taken down; a statue toppled? Will there be a formal surrender? Will the fighters on one side simply lay down their arms, turn around and go home? The word talib means student - will the Taliban go back to school?.. When the foreign armies leave will it be over? Or will it be worse? If all the foreigners leave.. who will play golf?.. When the war is over, will it be announced in a text message? An e-mail? On Facebook or Twitter? This kid lived in a tumble down house, two villages away.. No electricity, no computer, no television.. He had a simple cell phone in his pocket; would someone call and tell him?.. Something tells me these kids, these caddies, these keepers of the game of golf in the middle of a war; they will be among the first to know when it is really over.. I hope they call me with the good news.. Mon, July 21, 2014 |.. link.. Sunday, November 3, 2013.. Collateral Benefit.. Wartime Collateral.. Benefit.. I have been thinking pointedly about the word collateral for the past three years.. Not in a mortgage or obligation sense, but in a oh no.. not again sense.. In a collateral damage - and then collateral benefit - sense.. A missile or bomb or IED may find its intended target, but the radius of destruction often stretches out to create subsequent casualties; people who were unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.. In the U.. S.. we call them innocent bystanders, or unintended consequences.. Bureaucrats and politicians, both civilian and military, call them collateral damage.. This is, perhaps, one of the most horrifying elements of the war.. The damage often involves unrecognizable corpses: non-combatants, often children, who have been labeled collateral, added to a list somewhere, then largely forgotten by all but their family and neighbors.. And what exactly has this to do with golf?.. In the if it bleeds, it leads world of news media,.. collateral.. is a short-term attention getter.. But what if the word.. could be turned around and included in the description of something good and beneficial?.. Like golf?.. The whole point of the Kabul Golf Club, for me anyway, has been to foster and grow the concept of collateral benefit.. The seed is dropped, the business grows, and like a (slow motion) blast-wave, the ripple effects roll across the village of Qargha, touching everyone.. A tractor used on the golf course is also employed to grade the road leading up past the Mosque and bakery.. The water wagon used to keep the greens alive is also used to water trees.. The trees are fruit trees and provide both shade and a bit of food.. When they are pruned, the leaves are mulched, the limbs are burned.. The leaf mulch, along with food scraps - admittedly rare in starving Afghanistan - are added to the composting organic garbage and eventually ends up in the nutrient deficient soil.. These things are still mostly dreams.. Golfers venture beyond the razor-wire and visit the course.. Golfers from around the world, working and doing good things in Kabul.. Golfers with money.. The money goes to the drivers, the food vendors, the caddies, the kid who keeps a plastic bag full of plastic water bottles.. The money pays for green fees, rental clubs, cigarettes and tips.. It leaves the pockets of golfers from China and New Zealand and Omaha, and ends up in the pockets of families in Qargha, Afghanistan as a collateral benefit from their visit to the golf course.. This is happening now!.. Maybe a clever way of salvaging irrigation water is developed, helping both the golf course and the tiny farms that follow the river from Paghman to Qargha.. Maybe agronomy techniques that foster the health of grass and trees can be used down the road to grow food crops.. Maybe.. The best illustration of collateral benefit began more than ten years ago with the removal of live artillery shells and mines from the golf course.. The humble beginnings of this effort involved Abdul, the Kuchi people and a herd of sheep.. The sheep were kept in the natural pasture - once a thriving golf course - below the Qargha dam.. As the sheep wandered around, fertilizing the ground, they occasionally would step on a mine, and often times that mine would detonate, eliminating it as a danger to people- the only collateral damage was the sheep.. The UN got interested in this process.. They got rid of the sheep, took over the clubhouse, and operated a mine removal teaching facility.. Then the Halo Trust came, and began an even more aggressive clearing effort to remove mines and unexploded ordinance left behind left by the Soviet Red Army.. This was still going on when I arrived in the fall of 2010 - a delicate, tedious and occasionally very loud process.. Today, the whole area is often filled with running, jumping, playing children and their families - picnicking at Qargha has become one the very few delights for nearby Afghan families.. And when you see them - thousands of them on a sunny summer afternoon - you are seeing the concept of collateral benefit clearly, brilliantly defined.. Of course war stories can have elements of urban legend in them.. But there is no doubting the collateral benefit of a visionary man like Abdul, and his absurdly improbable golf course.. I can say that one of the best things that has happened in my life has been my ongoing friendship with that strange man on the other side of the world who showed me the collateral benefit of golf (and sheep).. Best Regards,.. RGB, Student of Golf.. Sun, November 3, 2013 |.. Tuesday, September 25, 2012.. Optimism.. I just wish it was contagious!.. I returned from my first trip to Afghanistan infected with something I now realize may be incurable.. I had supposedly been inoculated for every strange germ and virus and parasite and invader that might pose a threat to an unprotected, pudgy American.. But it is still with me, and I can t seem to shake it.. It spreads through person to person transmission; the acquisition of this virus-like invader requires extensive contact with other infected individuals.. While political and military groups have been fighting and occasionally eliminating this condition, I have been caught off guard and am, perhaps, a lost cause.. It is certainly not a plague or pandemic, and I may be one of only a handful of American victims.. For some time I was unaware of the seed that had been planted inside of me.. It lay dormant, held at bay by body counts and empty promises.. But, like other invasive creatures, it feeds on something inside and slowly grows.. There are no outward physical symptoms I noticed it hasn t made me lose weight because it doesn t feed on tissue or bones or fat.. It feeds on ideas and dreams.. In 2010, I became an unwitting carrier of the condition known as.. animo fortunae confidenti.. , more commonly referred to as optimism.. I think I caught it from the caddies.. Now I am certainly not an expert on Afghan politics, economics or culture.. But neither am I a blind man wearing rose colored glasses.. Traveling to Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 gave me the opportunity to meet some of the most optimistic people on the planet.. For years, the only information I had about this country was supplied by a collection of newspapers, magazines and radio.. I have long ago given up on television as a source of reliable information, though I suspect the reporting on the Afghans is equally dismal.. Bullets, bombs, blood and doom are the primary.. elements of the sad message available to most Americans.. But someone forgot to tell the Afghans.. They are busy as bees rebuilding their country and their society.. I drove through Paghman one day and up into the mountainous no man s land beyond.. It seemed everyone we passed was either rebuilding something or dressed for school.. Construction and education are the occupations of optimism.. The first big project in Paghman was the resurrection of the Victory Arch.. Victory is a growth medium for optimism.. I met some of the citizens of Skateistan, who have succumbed to the same skateboarding passion that propelled my son Jimmy for so many years.. Doomed people don t take up skateboarding - it is the sport of optimism.. I met an Afghan businessman who treats his clients to evenings at the new bowling alley in Kabul.. This business was built by Meena Rahmani, an amazingly optimistic Afghan woman, who doesn t fit the profile of a doomed person.. Because I am a sort of one-man show, I made my 2010 travel arrangements through a tourism business.. I met with Mr.. Jamshady, the boss, and spent quite some time in his office discussing the future of tourism in Afghanistan.. He suggested I spend time with the Minister of Tourism.. As a rule, doomed people don t encourage tourism.. One of my favorite stories involves former US Army Rangers who, after several deployments, went back to Afghanistan and built a factory to manufacture and sell Combat Flip Flops.. These shoes are marketed as being inappropriate for either running or fighting.. They would probably be fine for playing golf.. W.. ith a company that is providing work and medical care in Afghanistan, one of the owners - was it Matt? - told me at a meeting in LA that the biggest obstacles they face are shipping and insurance.. It takes an optimist to ignore the violence of war at your doorstep and concentrate on logistics!.. Then there is a golf course.. That speck of land with its sparse shop and dingy caddie shack is one of the world s great fountains of optimism.. Every single person I met in Afghanistan spoke cheerfully about the future.. I have never experienced.. anything.. like it.. Through my travels I have learned that people are by nature optimistic, but I always thought there was a limit.. Now I know the capacity for hope is limitless.. Now I know it wasn t all in vain.. RGB, Student of Golf.. Tue, September 25, 2012 |.. Monday, July 16, 2012.. Qargha.. In my professional life, the experience of working at a golf course has always been brightened by becoming, in a temporary or transient way, part of the surrounding community.. For me, it has been the desolate beauty of the Nebraska Sand Hills; the lush and majestic neighborhoods of Greenwich, CT; the stark and stunning Sonoran Desert of Arizona.. And, if only for a moment, Qargha, Afghanistan.. Qargha is one of those places that offers a natural welcome.. If hospitality is a defining element of the Afghan character, it is best experienced in Qargha.. The war seems so far away.. Even the armored columns coming up the road or the helicopter gunships flying low over the golf course veer off toward Paghman and the mountains before they get to Qargha.. There are days when this little hamlet seems empty and is so quiet that it does not seem possible the most frenetic city in Asia is only 10 kilometers away.. But Qargha is at its best on Friday afternoons in the summer.. Families fill the cabanas overlooking the lake.. These structures are open, sturdy and comfortable; the only reminder of war is the camouflage netting left by the Soviets, which provides shade.. Ironically, no golf is played on the most glorious summer afternoons the course is overrun with picnickers, cricketers and footballers.. The games are everywhere.. And so, the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood is irresistible, even for an intruding American.. The first stop has to be the fish farm located along the first hole.. Years ago the fish were harvested by undisciplined soldiers who threw grenades into its ponds.. Now it is clean, well stocked and productive.. Located at the base of the Qargha dam, the fish farm is a gift from France.. Water flowing through the farm toward Kabul also supplies another local business a car wash.. Stationed at the base of the dam is a contingent of soldiers guarding the discharge infrastructure.. They are neither smiling nor frowning, but make it clear it would wise to move quickly past their post.. They have facilities for cooking and napping and, if necessary fighting.. They also have, of all things, a billiards table.. The back road up to the lake winds past a bakery and butcher s stand.. There is a humble Mosque that resembles a store front church near my son s apartment in Brooklyn.. Up on the dam road the view is remarkable to the east is the golf course and in the distance, Kabul.. To the west is the lake, dotted with brightly colored paddle boats in the shape of massive swans.. And all along the road are stands and bazaars selling anything one might need to complete a perfect summer day.. The road continues through a grove of tall pine trees this is a tragically unusual sight in deforested Afghanistan and leads to an area resembling many lake-front resorts in the northern United States.. Guest houses, cottages, a small hotel, a beautiful lakeside restaurant.. As a visitor in 2010 and 2011, this place seemed to me to represent the hope and optimism which would compel someone to, say, build a golf course before the war ends.. Near the restaurant entrance is a prominent sign:.. No Guns or body Guard Allowed.. Sitting at a table by the lake, discussing the country s future with some of the people who will shape it was a defining experience in my life.. For a while, I was provided with a cottage near the water where I slept comfortably and unafraid.. Every.. morning I would wake, step out the front door, and gaze across the lake and up to the mountains.. It was chilly and absolutely quiet, the air full of the smell of baking bread that would soon be brought to my cottage for breakfast.. It seemed impossible that such a place could remain untouched by the war.. And, of course, it was just that.. impossible.. Just a few weeks ago, on the longest day of the year, a group of Taliban cowards dressed as women entered the grounds of the.. Spozhmai.. Resort.. Under their burqas they carried automatic weapons, explosives and suicide vests.. They murdered more than twenty people.. The fate of the Kabul Golf Club is tied to the well-being of Qargha, and now both need rebuilding.. What can you do to help?.. Mon, July 16, 2012 |.. Friday, July 13, 2012.. The Economics of Wartime Golf.. We are golf too!.. I can t believe you have sold out!.. This quote is from an e-mail commenting on the fact that advertising is now part of our website.. Receiving it made me feel almost giddy have we really sold out?.. I certainly hope so.. While we acknowledge the sui generous nobility of the game, the whole point of golf in Afghanistan is to keep a few of its practitioners from the doorstep of starvation.. We haven t sold many of our military hats or tee shirts.. And the donation avenue has turned into a dead end street.. We did earn $9.. 32 from advertisings sales in June, but that is on paper - the ads haven't generated enough hits for an actual payment.. So we haven t done as well as hoped in the selling out department.. Our stories and photos have pulled at heartstrings, but alas not purse strings.. And it is a tough sell, this promoting-golf-to-make-people s-lives-better effort.. Take the case of.. We Are Golf.. , an American non-profit that has been organized by leading golf associations to lobby for the golfing cause on the home-front.. Taking a break from railing against health care and the minimum wage, these associations seem suddenly very concerned about the guys and gals who rake bunkers or polish golf shoes or wash beer mugs or are otherwise occupied in the 2 million strong golf industry work force.. One of the stated missions of.. is to rid the game of its elitist image.. To accomplish this they sell memberships with.. annual.. fees ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, and have a.. members-only.. section on the website.. They also promote golf s impact on the American economy by using pre-crash data from 2005 the year golf participation peaked.. The news has not been good lately, so can you blame them.. for being, well, sandbaggers?.. The guys at the little golf course in Qargha think.. They Are Golf.. too.. They are also nostalgic for 2005.. Though the golfing impact on the Afghan economy was negligible that year, the Kabul Golf Club had scores of regular golfers, an American patron and lots attention from the international press.. The golf course had, in 2005, been re-opened for a year.. The tanks and artillery pieces had been towed away, the land mines cleared.. There just isn t anything that fills a golf course operator with optimism like a thumbs up from the NATO land mine removal folks (its called Battle Area Clearance).. During the next two years the golf course was visited by CNN, BBC, NYT and many other news agencies making clever references to hazards and bunkers on the course.. With the attention came some players and even an outing or two each year.. The caddies made some money, pulled their families back from the edge of starvation and joined the international ranks of golf industry workers.. They Were Golf.. for about two or three years.. Then the war came creeping back to Kabul.. Vicious attacks on soft targets have kept many golfers from going outside the wire to play.. Last month the war revisited Qargha, the once-peaceful hamlet which is home to the Kabul Golf Club.. It was the kind of attack - cowardly and pointless and very, very deadly - that may keep golfers and their money far from Abdul and the caddies.. The money we sent Abdul and the guys over the winter wasn't spent on irrigation or grass seed - it kept them from freezing while they slept.. So, if you can't make a  ...   beside pulls your arm down, vociferously shaking his head.. You can't let this moment go and run over to the shoulder, waving to a soldier of indeterminate nationality who is watching the road from the shielded gun turret.. When the patrol seems a safe distance away - how on earth would you determine that? - you snap a photo of the last vehicle from behind as it moves on down the road.. Back on the golf course, as you are stowing the camera, you hear a shout: hey, toss me a grenade!.. Up comes your head just in time to see a green cylindrical object arch through the air about two meters from your nose.. You take a step back, and a little boy runs up offering you a grenade.. It is a Tuborg beer.. Nice shot, he says, perhaps talking about the photo on the road.. On the ninth tee, there are at least eight new boys waiting for your group, each holding a club.. Here is a local tradition a closest to the pin contest on the par three at the end of the round.. Every one of these kids hits his drive well onto the green.. Then your new friends are both on in one, and finally it s your turn.. Despite the scary road, the reminders of war and its dangers, the totally alien golf experience, you are more relaxed than at any other moment on any other golf course.. You have experienced something only handful of the world s golfers will ever know.. One of the boys tees up your ball, way too high, and hands you a seven iron.. Your swing is relaxed.. You hit the ball squarely with the club face, sending it high and straight and 10 meters beyond the far edge of the green.. It bounces off of the golf course then across the road and out of sight.. And in a chorus more beautiful than any you have heard, a dozen strangely dressed, scraggly boys raise their voices and cry nice shot!.. Mon, September 19, 2011 |.. Saturday, September 17, 2011.. The Experience - Part 1 (The Road).. The Experience Part 1 (The Road).. The experience of a round of golf in Afghanistan naturally begins in Kabul.. Driving west toward Qargha, the city, with its ring of steel security apparatus, is left behind.. You travel over some newly constructed roadways for a couple of kilometers, then past the Polytechnic University.. For a moment you feel relief that the many check points and soldiers have been left behind.. You roll down the window and inhale (and taste) that acrid Asian aroma of charcoal and cooking fires.. To your left is a vast refugee / internally displaced persons camp with dwellings made of four mud and brick walls; roofs of canvas or plastic or old rolls of camouflage netting.. There are sturdy canvas tents labeled in English: UNHCR and ASCHIANA (this last means nest and is an NGO that serves refugee children).. There are roadside water pumps with lines of children waiting to fill buckets and cans.. You are traveling with the current of history.. In 327 BC Alexander the Great brought his army into Kabul through this valley to remove the army of Cyrus and the Persian Empire.. The British army came along the same route 2,000 years later.. And how many armies in between? And since?.. Those who documented the.. travels of caravans and armies past Kabul over the millennia of its existence describe a city lush and full of nut and fruit trees.. Today it is dusty scorched earth with a conspicuous absence of the color green.. The road deteriorates quickly, and as you slow or stop for large voids, children run up to the car, hands out.. Your driver orders you to roll up the window, then points to your Yankees ball cap.. He gives you a look that says it s not just the children who are interested in Americans.. Now you look for the soldiers and police.. Where have they gone?.. Your car slows, then stops for a line of sheep walking toward you in your lane.. As they pass by your window, you catch the eye of the Kuchi shepherd.. Pointing at your camera, you smile and reach for the door handle.. He looks at you in the same way he might look at a mountain lion threatening his herd.. You drive on.. Suddenly you have arrived.. A large arching sign in English The Kabul Golf Club.. There is a battered shack across from the entrance, and out steps a policemen, dressed all in black.. Two soldiers and a dog sit at the entrance.. Your driver speeds through the gate and you drive down a road, past a fish farm, toward that stone-faced Qargha dam.. You don t yet realize that the road bisects the golf course.. The fairways and the road surface are identical.. But as you approach the buildings which house the clubhouse and caddie shack, grinning young boys run to greet you.. Head Golf Professional Mohammad Afzal Abdul walks in his golfer s stride, marshalling the boys to get water, clubs, balls and cigarettes.. Welcome!.. Welcome!.. As you emerge from the car a little boy runs up and shouts Nice Shot!.. Probably one of the only phrases he can say in English.. It is a useful phrase - an admiring compliment for golfers, photographers and snipers.. Now you can see that the building on your left last year the clubhouse, this year the caddie shack has been damaged by artillery and small arms fire.. You walk over to make sure there are no signs the attack was recent.. The boys have miraculously produced a small sofa, plastic table and chairs, setting up outside the door along with a big pile of almonds.. Several of them sit on the ground around you breaking the almond shells and putting the nuts into your shirt pockets.. It s an odd, but surprisingly pleasant sensation to have someone fill your shirt pockets with food.. Sat, September 17, 2011 |.. Sunday, August 28, 2011.. Precedent.. EZGO Golf Carts A Merkava Tank.. Not long ago I was asked, Has anything like this ever been done before?.. And as it happened, I had a great answer.. Precedent for the Kabul Golf Club can be found in the odd story of the Golf Club of Lebanon.. 15 years of civil war.. Invasion.. Siege.. A country s single golf course built in the 1960 s, nearly obliterated by the tanks of a foreign army.. Littered with the remnants of war, fairways had to be cleared of land mines and unexploded ordinance.. A group of committed golfers simply refuse to be defeated.. Does any of this sound familiar?.. In the summer of 1982, the Israel Defense Force completed the siege of Beirut.. A key element of this effort involved taking the airport, located less than a mile from the southern-most fairway of the golf course.. The golf course was shredded by tanks, the facilities destroyed by artillery and rocket fire.. It is difficult for most of us to imagine the destruction caused by tank and artillery traffic, even when the guns are silent.. To put it in perspective, I would point to the decision-making process a superintendant uses to decide when to remove golf cart traffic from his fairways.. The fairway turf may be saturated or it may be hot and dry.. It may need a break from a period of particularly intense play.. It may need to rest before a big tournament.. The superintendant knows how much damage can be done by a golf cart loaded with clubs, beer and two healthy American businessmen.. Even with tires specifically designed to be kind to close-cropped grass, the weight of 1,200 pounds, all in, can wreak havoc on a soggy golf course that will take weeks to repair.. A 1980 s version of the Israel Defense Force Merkava tank weighed around 140,000 pounds.. Its treads were not designed to protect the grass.. As the war raged on, the American Embassy was bombed as were the U.. Marine Barracks a mile or so from the club.. In 1985 the Los Angeles Times dubbed the Golf Club of Lebanon the world s most dangerous golf course.. The civil war didn t come to an end until 1990.. Even today the idea of visiting this neighborhood in Beirut, much less playing golf there is something most Americans would ridicule.. And yet, there it is.. The golf course is located in a poor neighborhood controlled by Hezbollah, adjacent to the Hezbollah TV station in Beirut.. It has not only survived, been cleared of ordinance and rebuilt; it has flourished.. Its vitality comes from the diversity of its players and their approach to managing the game of golf in a country where war is a very real Sword of Damocles.. That approach includes a strict prohibition of political discussion.. If this rule could be adopted by clubs everywhere, golf would be a better game, and the world a better place.. Again, golf can take little credit for improvement in economic or political life.. But in a war torn country it is a powerful symbol of progress and peace.. Please visit the course and its staff and members at.. www.. golfclub.. org.. lb.. It s been 21 years since the end of the civil war in Lebanon.. The last war, in 2006, was brief and spared the golf course.. Whatever happens in Afghanistan during the next two decades, it is nice to know that the golf course can be rebuilt and become a treasured part of the landscape of Kabul.. It's been done before!.. Sun, August 28, 2011 |.. Wednesday, August 24, 2011.. Volunteers and Profiteers.. Tanks? Land mines? Snipers? Above, a caddie walks around the course with his children.. What a pleasure it has been to work on this project!.. Golfers from around the world have responded to the story of Afzal Abdul, his students and caddies with concern and enthusiasm.. Of course, everyone who is participating does so as a volunteer.. We believe in the power of the golf spirit and are thrilled that one of the most inspiring stories of the war is a golf story.. Not much opportunity for glory here and certainly no money to be siphoned off from the Kabul Golf Club sports empire.. It is simply a humble, hard-scrabble golf course that is barely surviving in one of the oddest places imaginable.. No one with a shred of decency would seriously consider exploiting these struggling people for profit or personal promotion.. Until now.. Dated August 10, 2011, here is a recent announcement for what else a new video game:.. My Headline Apps company will soon launch a video game based on the death-defying challenge of playing golf in Afghanistan.. Among the Kabul Golf Club s real-life obstacles: landmines, bomb craters, tanks, barbed wire, monstrous weeds and rocks, fire ants, and the prospect of incoming rocket fire.. Oh, and Taliban snipers and kidnappers work the area.. Tanks?.. Incoming rocket fire?.. Taliban snipers?.. Are you kidding me?.. These are not the course's real-life obstacles today, nor were they in 2009 when the producer of this fairy tale claims to have paid a visit and played a round.. The video game is the illegitimate brainchild of Eason Jordan, a former journalist who should know better.. While we aren t sure if the video game is yet being manufactured, its premise most certainly is.. The conditions Mr.. Jordan describes in his announcement - all great fodder for a compelling, potentially profitable video game are mostly fabrication.. We will concede the weeds and ants.. The photographic evidence indicates Mr.. Jordan defied death and completed a round of golf physically unharmed, though psychological issues may linger as the south paw was forced to and this is unbelievable play with a set of right-hand clubs.. He lived to tell the tale and build the video game, no doubt because of great reserves of courage and character.. Should a nasty slice develop, it could be PTSD; a swing problem few contemporary golf pros are equipped to deal with on the lesson tee.. Certainly there are many remnants of war to be found on the golf course abject poverty, abysmal health, buildings pockmarked by bullets, kids with missing limbs (as in the above photo), orphans and a ragtag collection of soldiers and police organized to look after the Qargha dam.. Jordan is perspicacious enough to realize none of these could produce the flashy or glamorous effects needed to market a compelling video game.. We can only imagine the finished product.. To learn more about Eason Jordan give his name a Google or visit.. easonjordan.. com.. The announcement is on his blog.. As is this confession:.. before visiting Qargha in 2009, he hadn t played golf in 35 years.. Now it is starting to make sense.. P.. - If you do feel compelled to play a video game that mingles a Scottish game with violence go to.. bashthehaggis.. Wed, August 24, 2011 |.. Sunday, August 14, 2011.. Sports and Unity.. Golf is about as foreign to most Afghans as deep sea fishing (it s a landlocked country).. There are probably fewer than 1,000 Afghans in Kabul who have ever heard of Tiger Woods or know that the R A doesn t stand for rifles artillery.. So what s the point of a golf course in Afghanistan?.. What s the point of any sport?.. Here are some other nontraditional sports that have arrived (or in many cases returned) and thrived in the past several years:.. Tennis, Badminton, Cricket, Soccer, Boxing, Track Field, Wrestling, Martial Arts, Basketball, Bicycle Racing, Archery, Shooting, Gymnastics, Bowling, Chess ( players will tell you that if golf is a sport, then chess is a sport!), Volleyball, Water Polo, Fencing, Weightlifting, Rugby, Baseball, Handball and Skateboarding.. And of course, golf.. The Afghan government and Olympic Committee have been working hard to bring the nation s athletes.. back into the international arena in a big way.. Afghanistan was formally suspended from Olympic competition in 1999 because the ruling Taliban would not allow women to compete.. It also prohibited Afghan athletes from wearing shorts.. Prior to that, Afghanistan had competed in every Summer Olympics since the 1936 games in Berlin.. In April of this year, I was pleased to be an unofficial spectator at the annual Parade of the Olympic Teams.. The athletes ran about 10 kilometers in the pouring rain from Kabul to Lake Qargha.. Hundreds of young people, men and women, participated.. The enthusiasm for their sports; the pride each took in the prospect of representing their country was infectious.. Afghanistan s commitment to the participation of all its citizens was highlighted by a large and proud Special Olympics team.. In a country where the median age is just over 18 years (it s nearly 45 years in Japan), the appeal of sports captivates a huge percentage of the population.. Fields and facilities for an incredible variety of sports have become a major investment.. Sports teams and federations have become powerful tools to bring a diverse people together in ways that eclipse politics and military strategy.. Every penny that is spent promoting sports in Afghanistan will reap benefits in terms of national unity that few other investments can claim.. How is it that we never hear about this on the nightly news or read about it in the daily paper?.. Waiting for the athletes, I was standing on the road at the end of their parade.. The roads had been closed for the event and I was perhaps the only foreigner, and absolutely the only American within miles.. As the crowd grew to hundreds of excited young people surging around me, I remembered the riots a week prior resulting from an insult to Islam from a preacher in Florida.. I should have felt vulnerable or at least a little nervous, but this was a celebration.. It was a festival of optimism and pride - no room for anger or politics.. T.. he electricity of the event was overwhelming, like attending a concert in Central Park.. And the food was better.. It was one of my best moments.. Sports in Afghanistan will continue to grow and bring people together as their country renews its economic and political systems.. Sports will be a unifying, calming influence in a chaotic country, symbolizing progress and peace.. Peace.. at this time there is only one sporting organization in Afghanistan; in the world for that matter, which has chosen to put this word on its flag.. The Kabul Golf Club.. Sun, August 14, 2011 |.. Sunday, August 7, 2011.. Possibility.. Golf is about possibility.. Can I clear the water?.. Can I chip it in on the money hole?.. Will the bar still be open when we're finished?.. Will my country really have a golf course when the war is over?.. Will I live to see it?.. Pictured here is a close up of our Kabul Golf Club poster boy.. He is a village kid who walked to the course to try his hand at the strange sport he had first seen during a family picnic at Qargha Lake.. While the boy scooted off before I could get even his name, I can tell you these few things about his life:.. He has lived every minute of his life as a citizen of a war-torn country.. The same is true for his parents.. As of today, he can expect to live another 35 to 40 years probably not long enough to meet his grandchildren.. When the fighting finally stops, he will face the perils of diseases like polio, typhoid fever, hepatitis and malaria diseases for which I was inoculated prior to my first trip to his country - for about $90.. He may walk to school and later to work, but won t wander far off the road.. He lives in the most heavily mined country in the world.. Land mine education is a common part of Afghan school curriculum like drivers ed in New Jersey.. There are estimated to be 10,000,000 land mines in Afghanistan one for every 2.. 5 citizens.. This does not include unexploded ordinance such as the tank and artillery shells recently unearthed off the seventh fairway.. He will live in a country made nearly treeless by war and the kind of poverty that can only use wood for cooking and heating.. As his country is slowly reforested, he may live long enough to sit in the shade of new growth on a hot summer day.. The average life expectancy in Afghanistan is less than 45 years, so his government better get busy planting.. Our young golfer will also witness, if not suffer from, a level of malnutrition, illiteracy and despair that places his country in the ranks of the poorest on earth.. And there isn t much that building a golf course will do to change all that.. So why is this kid smiling?.. Because he has just hit his first golf ball and nailed it.. That is a strange sensation in Afghanistan.. The seeming impossibility of the game getting that tiny ball from tee to green to hole without actually handling it is a notion that is no longer part of the western golf consciousness.. But our young student, using a club almost as long as he is tall, faced the preposterous and prevailed.. If the golf course restoration project can be completed, our young student.. may have the good fortune to graduate from apprentice to caddy to full time employee.. As a staff member, he would have a good job and access to an elevated level of health care.. His education would be supplemented by meeting golfers from around the world.. He would be working in an area made safe from dangers which may plague his country for generations.. And he would have the joy of introducing his children to the game that made it all possible.. Sun, August 7, 2011 |..

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  • Title: Press Room
    Descriptive info: A new #1 Ranking for the Kabul Golf Club - Bloomberg TV, 2014.. Vennskapsbanen - Path to Friendship.. "Kabul - a city at work" is an exceptional piece of journalism! See daily life in Kabul, including the golf course.. Click Here.. Close-Up: A round on one of the world's most dangerous golf courses.. Jouer sur le "golf le plus extrême du monde".. 'Der gefährlichste Golfkurs der Welt'.. KabulDiplo - Das Neueste aus Afghanistan.. Je voulais vous faire partager la découverte du jour, à savoir l'existence d'un golf en Afghanistan.. Cliquer Ici.. Monty gives golf lessons in war-torn Afghanistan.. Kabul Golf Club Veröffentlicht am 28.. September 2012 von Stephan.. Current and Archived Sports News.. Current Time and Weather in Kabul.. There is GOOD NEWS from Afghanistan.. Watch Interview Clips With Afzal Abdul And His Students.. The world has taken notice:.. BBC, 2004 *** "Afghanistan golf course reopens".. Time, 2005 *** "Letter From Kabul: Beware of Landmines on the First Fairway".. NY Daily News, 2004 *** "Kabul Golf Club Is In Full Swing Again".. The Christian Science Monitor, 2004 *** "If the golf greens are black, this must be Kabul".. The Guardian, 2005 *** "No avoiding the rough as golf returns to  ...   2007 *** "The World's Most Dangerous Golf Course".. The Independent, 2007 *** "Good shot: Golf in a war zone".. Reuters, 2007 *** "War and golf: A view of Afghanistan from the first tee".. Time, 2009 *** "Top Ten Toughest Golf Courses".. The Times, 2009 *** "The worlds most improbable course was opened in the parched hills outside the capital in 1967 and is a remarkable survivor".. CNN, 2009 *** "Afghan golf club hoping to drive war away".. The Christian Science Monitor, 2010 *** "Afghanistan's Only Golf Course - Bring Your Clubs and AK-47".. USA Today, 2010 *** "Afghan golf team makes Asian Games debut".. China Daily, 2010 *** "Afghan golfer not planning on burying head in the sand".. PGA Tour, 2010 *** "Afghanistan's golf team makes Asian Games debut".. Golf in Dubai Golf News, 2011 *** "Golf in Dubai invites top Afghan golfer to meet Tiger Woods".. The R and A, 2011 *** "Affiliate In Focus".. "Kabul Postcard: Golf Among the Ruins" - NPR, 2004 - Audio.. New York Times Slide Show, 2007 - Photo.. Al Jazeera Report August 2007 - Video.. Kabul Golf Club Video - Citizenreporter.. org, 2010 - Video.. Click to view the original Project Manual.. who knows?..

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  • Title: Put Down Your Guns! Pick Up Your Sticks! Let's Play Some Golf!
    Descriptive info: Put Down Your Guns! Pick Up Your Sticks! Let's Play Some Golf!.. Click Here To Visit The Kabul Golf Club Golf Shop!.. *All net proceeds are sent to Abdul via Western Union, to help provision his family and the caddies until the golf course can support them all*.. We can only ship within the United States and to Military APOs.. We would love to have retailers around the world offering Kabul Golf Club Gear.. International retailers can contact us at.. info@kabulgolfclub..

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  • Title: Contact Us
    Descriptive info: Take The Survey / Contact Us.. Click Here To Take A Brief Survey.. We look forward to hearing from you!.. General Information:.. Mohammad Afzal Abdul.. Kabul Golf Club.. Bandi Qargha, Afghanistan.. Club Director and Teacher of Golf Mohammad Afzal Abdul:.. +93 (0) 799 029011.. afzalabdul@kabulgolfclub.. Student of Golf Roger Bacon:.. +1 914 584 7490.. rgb@kabulgolfclub..

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  • Title: The Golf Student's Blog
    Descriptive info: Archive.. Older..

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