LAHORE - The beautiful game of golf got boost in Pakistan in the year 2014 and many of the Pakistan golfers managed to make their mark globally but still a lot more work needed to be done in this regard as if they are provided proper attention and lucrative sponsorship, they will be capable of making the difference at international level.

The country has some of the best golf courses in the cities including Lahore and Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Peshawar while the game of golf is also progressing gradually and gaining popularity in Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Gujranwala, Mangla, Faisalabad and Sargodah with each passing day.

Among the country’s golfing arenas, the prominent ones are Lahore Gymkhana, Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, Lahore Garrison Golf Club in Lahore while in Karachi, Defence Authority Golf Course, Karachi Golf Club Golf Course and Arabian Sea Golf and Country Club Golf are the one of the bests among the business having international level facilities and have been professionally designed and pose a challenge to both amateurs and professional golfers. Major development work was also carried out on the golf courses in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar while not far behind are the 18 holes layouts in Gujranwala and Jhelum. Two new golf courses, professionally designed, are in the construction phase in Lahore.

With each passing day, golf is gaining fame among the Pakistani youngsters and ladies who not only did wonders at national level but also created wave at international level. Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) has also been endeavoring to promote the Pakistani golfers on the international platform.

Now it is very easy and simple for the beginners and all those who want to learn golf as they just need to take a membership of some good golf club which will help them learn the basics of the game and it also provide opportunity to their families to enjoy their leisure time with their kids watching them exhibiting their prowess. This thing is compelling more and more parents to sacrifice their time, money and effort for the sake of producing champions. But what these youngsters need is help and support on the financial front to send the prodigies for international level competitions enabling their talent to bloom. Fortunately, some companies headed by devoted golfers are ready to come forward but this effort has to be more cohesive and achievement driven if we want our players to shine at international level.

The entire year witnessed most of the cities organising major events of calendar year released by the Pakistan Golf Federation. Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Peshawar held championships regularly during the year 2014, while the cities like Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Gujranwala, Mangla, Faisalabad and Sargodha held at least one golf tournament in the year.

Weather wise, our country is fortunate as a conducive climate bolsters golf and for about eight months, the perfect weather conditions exist and help the game flourish. Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar have similar temperatures, not too harsh in winter, unlike Quetta and this factor alone entices the intent ones to the golfing areas. As for Karachi, it is comfortable the year round and over the weekends, the eager ones virtually invade the golf courses. Golf playing enthusiasts are increasing by the hundreds and the graph of new entrants shows a cheerful rise. In the last three years, the juniors talent hunt programme launched by the Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF), Punjab Golf Association (PGA) and Sindh Golf Association (SGA) brought fourth considerable talent.

In this decade, M Shabbir Iqbal surfaced as the conqueror of Pakistan’s professional golf circuit. During the open competitions held at the leading golf courses of the country, Shabbir virtually assailed these courses through amazing shots and spotless putting. Others who sparkled are Matloob Ahmed, M Munir, Talib Hussain, M Safdar, M Tariq, Waheed Baloch, Shahid Javed Khan, M Siddique, Amjad Yousaf and Hamza Amin. A heartening feature is the emergence of young professionals with a will to play quality golf. Aadil Jehangir, Shafiq Masih, Asher Masih and Hamza Amin are names capable of swarming the international arenas.

The professional golf circuit of Pakistan hosts around 20 open events worth Rs 25 million and as Asad IA Khan of Sindh Golf Association said: “Although golf is growing, it still has to hit more headlines in Pakistan.”

During the year 2014, the Punjab Golf Association (PGA) took a major initiative and decided to set up a golf academy in Lahore. Punjab Golf Association president Lt Gen Naveed Zaman was instrumental in masterminding the setting up of this facility and energizing the whole effort so that it starts functioning by March 2015.

So it can be summed up as Pakistan golf has started progressing gradually but at international level, there is still a dire need of improvement which is not possible without the active support and help of sponsors and government as the more the top golfers of the country will feature in the international level, the more Pakistan golf will flourish and the better results can be attained.