The Axis of Eagle

story.irangolf.jpgAmir A. Daftari at writes about the emergence of golf in, yes that's right, Iran.

Due to the disdain and antipathy towards the sport, Iran has only ever had one single 18-hole grass course. The Imperial Country Club, as it was once known, is now the Enghelab (Enghelab means "revolution" in Farsi) Sports Complex.

It is the antithesis of immaculately kept upper class courses so commonly seen around the world. Only 12 holes remain (the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commandeered most of the back nine to use as a parking lot for its tanks) and the clubhouse is a decrepit prefabricated cabin. But what really sets it apart is that nearly half of its 300-plus members are women.

Thanks to financial help from the government, the club has made efforts to get ordinary Iranians on to the fairways by running mini-golf courses in the city's public parks and offering free tuition to beginners.

Green fees are reasonable -- roughly $10 for locals, against $60 for foreigners -- and the dress code is relaxed by Iranian standards: Men don't have to wear a collar, although women must cover up in accordance with the Iran's Islamic laws.
So naturally they are looking to grow the game with some more affordable courses...
A $2.2 billion golf resort, dubbed "The Flower of The East," is under constuction on the Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf. Backed by German and Swiss investors the resort is set to be the biggest golf course in the Middle East.