Golf is truly a universal sport. Created on the coast of Scotland in the 15th century, this sport has stood the test of time. Through the last 600 years, there have been many innovations to the sport that ensures new players are flocking to this frustrating and yet exhilarating game. Kings, heads of state, Bob who lives down the block, and Fred who we just met yesterday on the course, have played it. Golf appears to be everywhere, but is golf really a sport played around the world or is it a game for the rich that is losing touch with the masses?
Recently, The Economist printed an article that the Cuban government has authorized the development of an 18-hole golf course. This is the first time golf has been authorized in Cuba since the 1959 revolution! The article suggests that this political move is purely economical to draw rich tourists, however if they are trying to increase tourism; why golf?
Iran has a 12-hole course! Yes, a 12-hole course. This country is extremely mountainous, very desert like and considers the game of golf very bourgeoisie. Yet according to thetop100golfcourses.co.uk golf is rather popular with the young women of Tehran. Iran has a rich history that does not include golf, but perhaps times are changing.
Kabul, Afghanistan, has a golf course. It has been de-mined and you require close protection to play there, but golf is still being played. One of the hazards is the road that goes through the center of a fairway. Ultimately, it is not a golf course in the true convention; however, the BBC has a video that will open your eyes.
How about golfing in the land of the midnight sun? Each summer the Billy Joss Open Celebrity Golf Tournament is held in the third week of July on a 9-hole course. This 4-day Arctic golf tournament is the ultimate golf holiday. Golf all day and all night. This winter wonderland of golf is at the Ulukhaktok Golf Course. Ulukhaktok is a small hamlet on the west coast of Victoria Island, in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Golfing for 24 hours straight in daylight would be something that everyone should experience.
Not to be out done, The World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland, was last played in 2009. “Playing golf on a frozen seascape is not the only task at hand. Coping with extreme temperatures, which can fall to minus 50º C with the wind-chill factor, challenges players both physically and mentally. Special kit is absolute essential. Other factors to consider are that the ‘green’ is white, the ball is fluorescent orange and there is the unlikely risk of losing a ball to a polar bear.” The rugged conditions would definitely challenge the most avid golfer.
There are many examples of how golf has touched the most remote and politically challenging places in the world. Golf is a challenging game that truly transcends age, ethnicity, and economic status. It is a universal sport that continues to grow and continues to bring people and perhaps nations together. If you have never golfed, it may be time to try; the opportunities are boundless. Golf is a sport played around the world and enjoyed by many!
Sport Is Everything. The Grateful Golfer.
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