Is golf a sport or a hobby?
If one day you happen to find yourself on the green space with a golf club in your hand, focusing on the white ball in front of you and the wide green space you’re pushing it along, you will discover that golf is not just a hobby or a game, but a real pleasure. With time, a person gets attached to it and loves it to the point of addiction.
Golf, in other words, is a pleasant ride, disturbed by a small white ball. In fact, it is a game that people of all ages discover and practice in all stages of their lives. Some master it to an unparalleled degree, but in the end, all golfers live in the same state of pride and ostentation.
Behind some of the shining stars in this game, a large group of amateurs, estimated at 60 million unknown people, play this game in all parts of the world and are attached to it with boundless passion.
Everyone who plays this game knows only one opponent, themselves against the golf course, or parcours as it’s widely known.
The player competes with themselves above all to improve their performance. They explore the hidden tracks of the "path" with its natural diversity, green spaces, vegetation, and terrain.
Golf with several lines
Simply, the principle of the game is based on a single goal: shooting the ball with the golf racket to hit the hole with the least number of shots.
The golf course is divided into 18 holes. The course of each hole varies according to the terrain and varies in length.
The game has fixed rules. These rules and principles are respected despite the vast diversity between the different golf courses. No two golf courses are alike, and in most cases, the geometry of each “track” course adapts to the terrain on which substitutions are applied to allow the game to be played within the usual foundations so that the number of possible hits between different stadiums converges.
A brief history of golf
Golf in Egypt is one of the traditional sports with a history dating back about a hundred years, since the establishment of the Gezira Sports Club and the famous Mina House course near the Pyramids of Giza in the late 1940s.
By the 1980s, there were seven world-class courses in Egypt. However, interest in golf was declining and most of these courses have disappeared with the change in the political climate in the country. Only, the Mina House Stadium (which is now under renovation), the Alexandria Sporting Club Stadium, and the Al-Jazira Club Stadium have survived this change. Fortunately, the sport of golf in Egypt has witnessed a great recovery over the past ten years. All in all, there are now 20 golf courses operating on top of the highest international levels in the main cities in Egypt, and international golf competitions have included Egypt among the places where this sport is practiced at the level of world rankings.
New urban developments have taken place on the outskirts of Cairo. In areas located within a short distance from the city, you can find the emergence of a lot of wonderful golf courses. Among these courses are the golf course in the Katameya Hills, the golf course in the Orange Lakes region, the golf course in the Alegria region, and many more. In addition, the cities on the Red Sea and on the Sinai coast pride themselves on having some of the most beautiful golf courses.
In fact, those who enjoy spending their holidays in the Red Sea have a natural environment that’s like a paradise; some enjoy the lakes with the crystal-clear waters at the golf course in El Gouna, while others enjoy playing golf at the golf resort surrounded by flowing waterfalls in Soma Bay.
You can download one of the promotional bulletins on the Internet about golf in Egypt, or you can visit Egypt’s page on Facebook to get more news, photos and videos related to golf in Egypt.
Golf itself is a sport of all kinds and serves all different classes. Born at the hands of a king, it found its way to spread among the countries of Europe, and immigrated to the new world to witness a greater spread in America. And just as football captured the hearts of the people from upper classes, the game of golf became a symbol for players and audiences of a special type. Princes and nobles loved it since its inception, and then it became popular among investors and amateurs who started making deals in open stadiums.
The sport was widely known as being the sport of ‘power and money’, but this is not really what it is all about. Its officials are looking for ways to develop and spread it among the youth in order to achieve the maximum sportive and economic benefits from its practice.
“The Eastern Company” is the main entity for setting the rules of the game. The Eastern Company club in Scotland, which was like the International Golf Federation, set its rules that are still applied and managed till today. Despite the fact that the club was the owner of the foundations and rules, the game preceded its appearance by more than 300 years, i.e. about 1510 at the hands of James II, one of the Kings of Scotland, who called it ‘the game of scepter’.
After that, the first golf club appeared, called ‘St. Andrew’s Golfers Association’, which later turned into the ‘Eastern Company Club’— which has the first credit for the emergence of the game at the global level.
Going deeper in history
There is no specific date for the beginning of the practice of the game in Egypt, but it is certain that the Egyptians knew about it since the era of the English occupation, where it was practiced by the English leaders in the beginning. Then, the members of Muhammad Ali’s family liked it, so it became exclusively available for them and for the English only.
Speaking about the first Egyptian golf course in Mina House, where golf was associated with tourism. The English were promoting it among the members of the European communities, depending on the magic of playing the game in front of the scene of the pyramids and the Sphinx. Then the Egyptian clubs and golf courses rolled, especially after the establishment of the Al-Jazira Club, followed by the Maadi and Helwan Club.
Perhaps, the most prominent figure who was interested in this sport in Egypt was the noble Abbas Halim (October 9, 1897 – July 6, 1978), also known as Nabil Abbas Halim or Sherief Abbas Halim, who was a prince of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and a labor activist in Egypt. He was keen on playing the game, spreading it, and organizing the National Championships where the Egyptians and the English can compete.
Abbas Halim Pacha
The journey of golf all over the world
Due to the nature of the colonial era in which the game spread, and because it appeared in the lands of the British Empire, it was easy to transfer between the countries of the world through soldiers and forces deployed around the world. After the game reached Ireland, England and Wales, it quickly flew to America, Canada and some countries in the Middle East.
The time difference between entering the game in America and holding the first tournament was nearly a century, as the game entered at the beginning of the nineteenth century, while the first official New York Championship was established at the end of it.
Continents apart, but similar stories: Francis Ouimet the American and Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Sunni
There is a distance between Cairo and New York in golf practice, but the game wove two identical stories, their protagonists are the stadium workers who became heroes of the game.
The first golf tournament in America was in 1894, but the real birth of the game was at the hands of the champion Francis Ouimet, who was distinguished by his wonderful performance and accuracy of shooting, and he was crowned as the champion of the American Championship in 1914 after he worked with his father in the care of golf courses.
On the other side of the old world and on the banks of the Nile Valley, Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Sunni was weaving the same story in the tale of the poor with the game of the kings, where he walked and toured the Egyptian Qatar Championship in 1939 and defeated the English champions one by one. He was a modest worker in Helwan Golf Club. The story of Sheikh Mahmoud dates back to the desire of the noble Abbas Halim, a member of the family of Muhammad Ali, to encourage Egyptians to play the game he loves.
The tournament was subjected to an embarrassing situation. The Egyptians had concerns and the tournament was about to fail. But Abbas Halim invited golf club workers to participate in the tournament in order to save the situation. The English players were enthusiastic to compete with the Egyptian workers, so the tournament took on a different enthusiastic note, and like the hero Ouimet, Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Sunni, the foreman of the Helwan Club, appeared in the tournament and was keen to compete with the turban and the robes. Sheikh Mahmoud walked and walked for 3 hours in which he outperformed the most skilled English players until he took everyone by surprise, achieving second place, and won a wallet full of cash for the value of his prize.
Golf in the Arab World
According to Ali AL-Balharith, the Saudi National Team Coach Golf for Arabia came with the discovery of oil, Golf began as a hobby and a recreational activity, and was practiced by residents of European nationalities, especially those who worked in Aramco in 1945. He mentioned, "in 1962 there was a modest sand golf course in the city of Al-zahahran located outside the residential area of Aramco, and there were three players— Saudi employees of the company— playing the game as a recreational hobby after working hours with the participation of their European colleagues”.
The beginning of the participation of Saudi players in official tournaments was in 1975. The national team participated in the first Arab championship in Lebanon, within the Arab Golf Federation. In 1993, the Gulf Cooperation Council Championship was established, and in early 1999 the beginnings of the Saudi Golf Committee were established.