Golfing in Kabul

April 28, 2005

Steve Kelley a sports columnist for the Seattle Times recently played a round of golf at the nine hole Kabul Golf Club.

The "fairway" is furrowed and strewn with rocks and twigs. The hillsides are guarded by Afghan National Army tanks. </p>

The ball doesn't roll in the fairway. It plugs into the dirt. According to the scorecard, "If your ball lands on the fairway, you may either play the ball as it lies, play it from a mat, or play it from a wooden tee."

The rough contains souvenirs of the Soviet occupation, such as the massive green grillwork of an exploded Russian armored personnel carrier. A weathered explosive device lies nearby.

The "greens" are black, a compacted combination of sand and motor oil. The caddy uses a mat to drag the surface before you putt. It doesn't take a Stimpmeter to tell you these greens are as slow as Mississippi summers.

"Attack the course," I am told by my caddy. "Play aggressively. There are no gimmes. Don't even ask for the stroke index. This is Afghanistan and everything is tough here."

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