AFGHAN GOLF COURSE NOTHING BUT SAND & BOOBY TRAPS: Carl Spackler may have had to deal with gophers, but he didn’t have to worry about Taliban fighters playing through:
The NEW YORK TIMES reports on a real Cinderella story, the tale of Mohammad Afzal Abdul and his desire to keep the game of golf alive and well in war-torn Afghanistan.There are holes and fairways, but no trees or water hazards to hit into. There’s no lush grass to mow or trim, so the greens are made of sand and oil mixed together and flattened by a heavy roller - and officially called ‘browns’.
The 48-year-old Abdul has had a life-long obsession with golf, first picking up the putter at age 10. He opened the Kabul Golf Club in 2004, the only course in the country, on a site that last hosted a foursome in 1978.At first, the course saw heavy business, mostly from international aid workers, who were brought in to help rebuild the nation devastated by Soviet occupation and hard-line Taliban rule.
Now, Abdul is lucky to get a dozen players in a week, as many foreign workers have left Kabul, and Afghanistan’s economy begins faltering again - not to mention a resurgence of Taliban fighting. He admits “it’s a little sad” about the dramatic downturn of visitors to his course.
But Abdul’s not one to give up his golfing dreams in a nightmarish land so easily. “I won’t close it. I’ll be patient. People need to play golf.”