A golfer plays an iron shot out of the rough on a roadside desert golf track in Walvis Bay, Namibia, May 16, 2006. The nine-hole course dubbed the 'West Side Club' has no greens or tees, water or grass. Stinging sand and gusts of wind whistle through a lone row of palm trees on the edge of the forbidding Namib desert. Photo Credit: Stringer/Files/Reuters
Ahhh, yes! The siren song of addictive, compulsive behavior. We at MAXINE know it well; however, given my recent sandtrap play ... it looks like quadruple-bogey golf to me.
Keep your head down, as you take the shot - have the club land just about an inch or so behind the ball, remember to swing all of the way through the shot, if you look up to see the shot ... you will be looking at a bad shot, accuracy over distance!
Excerpts from Reuters via Yahoo! News -
Golf fanatics tackle Namibia's barren dunes
By Gordon Bell – REUTERS, Mon May 29, 2006
WALVIS BAY, Namibia - Elen Gubeb's tattered sandals and torn jeans don't match his pricey new Mizuno glove, but dress is not important at this home-made golf track on Namibia's desert coast, an unlikely golf hotspot.
The 20-year-old part-time caddy practices with a classic swing as the first of a group of eight players tees off from a small rocky mound nearby.
"I don't work, I just play golf everyday," says Gubeb, one of thousands of youths unable to find permanent work in the poor southern African nation.
The Namib, the world's oldest living desert, and the barren Skeleton Coast limit employment options in the former German colony that for decades was under the control of neighboring South Africa.
"Sometimes I imagine myself as Ernie Els or Tiger Woods, I use my imagination and love it," he adds in faltering English, clutching his Nike shirt.
Alec Williams, director of golf at the country club in the capital city Windhoek, said interest in golf was growing fast among Nambia's youth.
Namibia, with just two million people, has been thrust into the spotlight with the surprise arrival of Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to have their first baby in the remote west coast region.
There are only four grass courses in Namibia -- a country slightly smaller than France and Germany combined -- although almost all other reasonably-sized towns have "courses" made of a mixture of sand and oil.
The West Side Club has neither grass nor oil but the frustrations of the game are as brutally real as on any golf course.
The course's nine holes range from 110 meters (yards) on the par 3s to about 350 meters for a par 5, although the distances, after many years, remain an educated guess.
"I know it's a rich man's game, but we just want to try," explains Gubeb over the din of laughter as a 17-year-old novice burrows the Hippo driver into the sand, gently toppling the ball from the tee.