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Mike Sweeney

Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« on: July 23, 2012, 08:26:10 PM »




My firm is now very involved in Afghanistan with much of our work being done with a partner company in high schools in Herat, Afghanistan:

http://capitalpartners.filmannex.com/film-annex-in-afghanistan/

Somehow, I was referred into Kabul Golf Club and some of the people there. It is a fascinating story of Mohammad Afzal Abdul and the golf club:

http://www.kabulgolfclub.org/abdul.html

He has an American friend who for security reasons may want to stay anonymous for now and here is his story.

http://www.kabulgolfclub.org/id5.html

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 isnít 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 Ė 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 tee time, maybe you could buy a hat or a tee shirt and participate in the economics of wartime golf.  It may be a year or so before they can survive on green fees and tips again.

Here is Abdul talking about the Russian invasion and what it did to the golf club.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxyjG05rbLI&feature=plcp

I am not sure where this will lead us as a firm or for me as a golf nut, but I thought it should be shared on Golf Club Atlas.

The Afghan women that we work with are very inspirational and Abdul appears to come from the same DNA.

Cheers.

Joel_Stewart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 08:34:19 PM »
There have been various stories over the years about the course.  Golf Digest or Golf Magazine did a very big story several years ago about this guy and the course.

Looks like the conditions have gotten worse but the club has no drainage or irrigation. 

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 03:46:53 PM »
Can GCA come together and help with this in some way? To me it seems appropriate.

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Jason Hines

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 06:29:20 PM »
Can GCA come together and help with this in some way? To me it seems appropriate.

Ulrich

I'm in.

Scott Warren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 06:39:53 PM »
Ulrich,

 We came together to get Andy Gray to Bandon. I reckon we can surely make something happen in this case!

Mike Sweeney

Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 08:49:22 PM »
1. Short term, orders at their Pro Shop help and the logo is pretty good!

http://www.kabulgolfclub.org/id7.html


2. When I was playing golf in California, I heard somewhere that Herat, Afghanistan where most of my firm's work is located is safer than Tijuana, Mexico. I can't say if that is true but after last week in Colorado, I have a different perspective that violence can be very isolated.

3. I received the following update from Roger who runs the online Pro Shop from America:



______________________________________

As noted on the web site, the course has been scaled down to five holes to accommodate a roads project.  I have had good reports from players, the last from some Americans who played in June.  HOWEVER - there was a very vicious and deadly attack on Qargha, the community where the golf course is located:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/world/asia/26-die-as-afghan-forces-fight-taliban-at-hotel.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

I lived on the grounds of the hotel that was attacked during my last trip to AF.
 
The golf course was designed and built by the family of the last King of Afghaniastan along with some expat golfers in the early 1960's.  Sorry - no big golf names to add interest to the story - but then its interesting enough on its own don't you think?
 
I have enclosed, along with your hats, a project manual which I produced following my first trip to Afghanistan.  This manual contains the original goals - placing special attention on the concept of collateral benefit.  The war has put Abdul and the caddies in the unfortunate position of having survival as a main goal today.   
 

Scott Warren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 09:58:30 PM »
Mike,

Is it possible to join Kabul GC? I am sure even a small anual fee would be of great benefit to those involved.

I'd love to join even if only to get a regular update email. A bag tag would be a great talking point too and might help get others interested.

Agreed that is a great logo.

Where is Roger based?

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 02:24:46 AM »
Is there a way to donate money without ordering at the Pro Shop (and using Pay Pal)?

Donating golf equipment would probably be a good thing, but are there any logistics in place to get the stuff to Abdul?

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 03:21:54 PM »
Tempting though it may be, I doubt I will seek to include this course in the next edition of The Confidential Guide.

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 04:03:05 PM »
If you can even get there, then play a round and leave your clubs there. I believe they only have two full sets.

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Jason Hines

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 05:07:59 PM »
Mike, do you happen to know the exact location for a Google Maps aerial?

Mike Sweeney

Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 10:02:19 PM »
Everyone.

I am working on your answers.



« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 04:54:34 PM by Mike Sweeney »

Mike Sweeney

Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 04:54:59 PM »
From Roger Bacon:

You should get your package today.  I have sent off a membership certificate today - bring it with you to Qargha when you are in the neighborhood!  I also sent you a bag tag included with the hats.  This is our way of saying thank you for your interest, and for spreading the word.  This last, spreading the word, is for me the most important part of my project.  We receive web site visitors from 68 countries, and also do a modest amount of advertising.  We are trying to build the brand - Peace in Afghanistan.
 
Here is a link with a film by Afghans:  http://www.kabulatwork.tv/chapter/sport-and-recreation/golf-pro-pages/

_______________________________

GCAers, who are interested, please contact Roger Bacon for all "Membership Inquires" @ rgb@kabulgolfclub.org

Roger is also the Manger of a "famous club" in Arizona for those that want good Karma in their quest of the Top 100!

Joel_Stewart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2012, 08:42:41 PM »

Here is a link with a film by Afghans:  http://www.kabulatwork.tv/chapter/sport-and-recreation/golf-pro-pages/

_______________________________


That video is classic.  I love the photo of the guy with Tiger Woods and being naive to ask Tiger to come to Kabul.  Strange Tiger hasn't gotten back to him???

It appears they have enough clubs.  Balls I suspect are limited but in those conditions may last only a few holes.

If some architect wanted to make a name for themself, going over there and doing some shaping would be huge!!!  The equipment would be an issue, that ground is hardcore rock.

Joel_Stewart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Kabul Golf Club - Lake Qargha, Kabul, Afghanistan
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2012, 09:18:43 PM »
Somebody has already developed a huge business plan and fund raising campaign.

http://www.kabulgolfclub.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/restoration.pdf


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