The golf scene in Pakistan is beginning to reflect a 'wind of change'. With more and more media coverage, the game is starting to become a household word in the major cities, thus luring youngsters to the golf courses. And those connected with golf can experience the cool breeze of development causing tremors that are impact oriented.

With players’ passion delightfully extravagant, one can hope that in the next two or three years the top professionals and amateur golf players of the country can hope for a golfing career that will be lucrative and rewarding. As things stand a heartening aspect of our professional golf circuit is that the top ten ranked players are earning average money.

As far as the weather of our country concerned, it is conducive for the game. About eight months in a year there is perfect weather which can help the game to flourish. Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar have similar temperatures, not too harsh in winter, unlike Quetta and this factor alone entices the interest of golf players. As for Karachi, the weather is pleasant round the year and on every weekend the eager ones virtually invade the golf courses. Golf playing enthusiasts are increasing by hundreds and the graph of new entrants shows a cheerful rise. In the last three years juniors’ talent hunt programme launched by the Pakistan Golf Federation, Punjab Golf Association and Sind Golf Association which brought fourth many young and talented players. Golf clubs like Lahore Gymkhana, Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, Lahore, Garrison Golf Club, Karachi Golf Club, Arabian Sea Golf Club, Islamabad and Rawalpindi Golf Clubs and Peshawar Golf Clubs encouraged the young ones to take up this game. Summer vacations of 2013 were an ideal time when many players swarmed the golf courses with zest for the game. Through this programme, 60 talented juniors in the age brackets 12 to 17 were nominated for formal coaching. This year we might have a few champions in the forefront, if the education option does not steer them away from this fine sport. Youngsters like Mubraiz Ahmed (Rawalpindi), Muhammed Rehman (Royal Palm), Salman Jehangir (Lahore Gymkhana) and Mahad Zafar (Royal Palm) have already made it to the national fold by playing overseas in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Bangla Desh. These lads of the country, by consuming self owned resources have created vibes at international level through their performances, and if they continue to gain international experience through regular tours, the big breakthrough is possible. The heartening feature of Pakistani golf is that some talented ladies are also appearing on the scene. Maryama Khan (Lahore Gymkhana), Noore Zaman(Gymkhana), Zaib un Nisa(Royal Palm) and a few from Islamabad have demonstrated the capacity to become notable champions. Currently Ghazala Yasmin rules the ladies section but the little ones have started to challenge her supremacy.

Golf Courses

The golf courses across the country have splendour environment particularly those located in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar. These courses have improved playing conditions to create a unique golfing experience. Defence Authority Golf Course in Karachi has been professionally designed the course for both amateurs and professional golfers. The golf course of Karachi Golf Club is landscaped by water features and exotic greens and served as an acceptable arena for international open golf events luring players from 45 countries. Then there is the Arabian Sea Golf and Country Club Golf Course which can rightfully boast of carpeted fairways.

As for Lahore, the Royal Palm Country Club Golf Course has certainly attained a glamorous touch and the setting is exquisite. There is a clubhouse with full recreational facilities and a 20 bay driving range where golfers like Shahid Javed Khan and Muhammad Rehman practice to hone their game to high competitive levels. Developments carried out at the Lahore Gymkhana Golf Course over the years to make it a challenging layout for players from overseas, while playing here have always given a high score. A new addition to Lahore golf scene is the Defence Raya Golf Course where clubhouse facilities are in progress but the golf course is majestic. Every fairway is awesome and facilitating crisp hitting. In the years to come we are going to see world class players converging to this place for a share feel of its splendour.

Major development work was also carried out on the golf courses in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar. Furthermore, the 18 holes layouts in Gujranwala and Jehlum are not far behind. Two new professional golf courses are under construction in Lahore, one in Islamabad and a couple in Karachi.

Professional Circuit

In the year 2013, Muhammad Shabbir Iqbal remained supreme in Pakistan’s professional golf circuit. During the open competitions held at the leading golf courses of the country, he assailed these courses through amazing shots and spotless putting. Other names who sparkled are Matloob Ahmed, M. Munir, M. Nazir, Hamza Amin, M. Tariq, Waheed Baloch, Shahid Javed Khan, and M. Siddique. A comforting feature is the emergence of young professionals with a will to play quality golf. Aadil Jehangir, Shafiq Masih and Asher Masih are capable of swarming in the international arenas. Already Hamza Amin and Shafiq have cast their spell in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Golf Scene in Dubai. During the four competitions of this tournament their performances were extraordinary. Now they have to use the platform of the Asian Tour to further hone their talent. The professional golf circuit of Pakistan hosted around 20 open events during the year 2013. Prize money was better than what was on offer in the past couple of years. Pakistan Golf Federation has also intervened in this regard and laid down a limit for minimum prize money for an open championship. Giants with a love for the game are Arif Abbasi of Arabian Sea Golf Club, Asad I. A. Khan President of Sind Golf and companies like U-Fone, Shezan International, Bahria Town, Millat Tractors and Pak Suzuki.

Recommendation

Need of the hour is to spread the base, and help the game to prosper. Pakistan Golf Federation in association with provincial golf bodies (Punjab, Sind, Frontier) have a major role to play, as it is their duty to enable the golfers to raise their levels of excellence to the extent that they can perform well on the international circuit to win laurels for themselves and for the country. Bold initiatives relating to coaching and competitive golfing activities are already yielding results, and in spite of restricted economic activity, the golf loving prosperous ones will readily sponsor players and golf competitions. Another aspect that deserves attention is taking golf to schools and colleges.