Out­door ac­tion

A green sanc­tu­ary on the edge of the city, the Golf Club of Le­banon has been pro­mot­ing the sport for al­most a cen­tury. We dig into its his­tory and get some tips from golf­ing cham­pion Myrna Raad

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENTS -

On the green, the golf club of Le­banon

WORDS FROM A FE­MALE CHAM­PION

Le­banese golfer Myrna Raad in­her­ited a pas­sion for golf from her father. Grow­ing up in Sierra Leone, she still re­mem­bers hold­ing a golf club and try­ing to hit the ball at a very young age. When the fam­ily re­turned to Le­banon, they joined the Golf Club of Le­banon and af­ter the war Raad took the game up se­ri­ously, though it wasn’t with­out its chal­lenges. “When I first started with this game I was very much hooked on it. Af­ter my first year of play­ing I re­call meet­ing a fel­low player who said to me that if within two years I do not be­come a sin­gle fig­ure player then I’ll never be a good one. That was the first chal­lenge. The se­cond one was the club. They did not al­low me to par­tic­i­pate in any in­ter­na­tional game un­til I be­came a sin­gle fig­ure and when the time came they owed me this. I made sure they kept their word.”

Raad’s per­se­ver­ance paid off as she be­came a Le­banese golf­ing cham­pion with some of her ca­reer high­lights in­clud­ing the Le­banese Cham­pi­onship, the first Arab Ladies Cham­pi­onship, Greece In­ter­na­tional Am­a­teur, Cyprus In­ter­na­tional Am­a­teur and, two of her fa­vorites, The Asian Games and Mediter­ranean Games. “Be­ing a fe­male player in Le­banon was very dif­fi­cult when I started. For ev­ery in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion I had to fight my way through. My res­cue was my hand­i­cap (sin­gle fig­ure). As long as there was a fe­male cat­e­gory within the com­pe­ti­tion. I al­ways had to re­mind them that I could par­tic­i­pate. Now things have changed though,” re­flects Raad.

Raad in­sists it’s es­sen­tial to start learn­ing golf with a pro, rather than pick­ing up the sport alone, to avoid de­vel­op­ing bad habits that are dif­fi­cult to get rid of. “Golf is an amaz­ing game. It is phys­i­cal and, al­though peo­ple find it hard to be­lieve, it is also very men­tal. It is a con­tin­u­ous chal­lenge of your­self. Un­for­tu­nately it is not very pop­u­lar in Le­banon. The Golf Club, though, is work­ing hard to at­tract new gen­er­a­tions into the game,” she says.

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