“I was invited to Dubai and I saw Tiger Woods, which made me very happy. I like people who like golf”
My name is Mohammed Afzal. I am the Afghan Golf Club trainer of Afghanistan.
I was eight years old when I came to Qargha and saw people playing golf. I had come here for a picnic with my family. Then one foreigner helped me – I hit one ball and he was very happy. He said to me, come and play golf. And he helped me set the tee, ball, clubs, everything.
When I was 14 years old, a Pakistan golf champion from Peshawar came to Afghanistan by invitation of the foreigners to teach the Afghan golf team. The foreigners who knew me said, “The team is Afghan, therefore the teacher should be Afghan.”
So we had a contest for three days. For the first two days, we tied. On the third day I defeated the Pakistani. So at the age of 14 I was selected to teach the Afghan golf team.
When the Russians were here, I went to jail for six months. They said, “You work for the foreigners.” They thought I was a spy.
If we had grass, my hundred students who learn golf here would increase to thousands.
Then during the Taliban I was in prison for two months. Someone told them that I used to associate with the foreigners. So because of golf, they put me in prison for two months.
Even in the prison I played golf – I would swing without a driver.
During all these wars that happened in Afghanistan, our golf course was destroyed. There were tanks, bomb, bullets all over the course. We came back when Karzai came to power. I didn’t even recognise the place.
After the deminers collected all the munitions from here, for about five days I paid for about two thousand sheep. I let them walk in the field so if there were any mines they would explode. We didn’t find any.
This is the only golf club in Afghanistan. Back in the day, we had grass on the course. All the foreign embassies were helping us at the time – England, America, Japan, Germany.
Now we make the “green” with sand and wasted oil. I have created it all on my own. It is soft, like grass – the ball stops the same as it would with grass.
But we want to have grass again. Maybe we’ll start next month for it to be ready for next season. The season is from around April to December. The Olympic Federation – we joined last year – gave some money to help make the golf course grass. Not too much money, you know. We still need the foreigner people to help.
If we had grass, my hundred students who learn golf here would increase to thousands. I don’t charge my students a fee. Some start from the age of seven, eight. And some have entered international competitions.
Mullah Ezat is a member of parliament who pays for everything for the golf club. For the last six years he has paid for all the equipment and he pays for my expenses – enough for me and my family.
I am 52. I have played golf my whole life. All my family, friends, and relatives play golf. I have two sons and three daughters. My sons – 15 and 8 years old – both play golf. Last year my son won the trophy here from the tournament.
Recently I was invited to play golf in Dubai and I met Tiger Woods, which made me very happy. I like people who like golf and I asked him to come to Afghanistan and to visit our golf club but I haven’t heard from him yet. If he hears me, I ask him to please come visit us.