Pakistan became independent in 1947 from India (Britishers) was partitioned and two nations came into existence, Pakistan and India. Pakistan was placed on the map in two wings, West Pakistan and East Pakistan. Western part touched the Arabian Sea and the Eastern part Bay of Bengal. In between was India.
British left many legacies behind and the game of golf was one of them. West Pakistan had few golf courses, which were made by the English for their leisure. The oldest was Lahore Gymkhana, which was made in 1857, but not at the current site. It was at Mian Mir and was only a nine holes course. (Info Guinness book for golf facts by Donald Steel) Peshawar Golf Club is also an old course and the first tournament played there was Deane Cup in 1906. All major towns had a golf facility. Eastern part had only one course Kurmitola Golf Club at Dhaka.
The then game was played mostly by armed forces officers or civil service personal. To promote the game Pakistan Golf Union was formed in 1960. The first President of the organization was late Justice A.R. Cornelius a man of stature and his secretary was late Taj uddin Salimi a golfer par excellence. Pakistan for the first time participated in an international championship was in 1962 at Fuji GC, in Japan. Since than game has moved many notches up the scale in the country. Since the formulation of the governing body of golf in the country, two major championships were introduced the National Amateur Championship and the Pakistan Open. In 1982 under a new sports policy PGU was changed to Pakistan Golf Federation and its first President was Lt General (Retd) Faiz Ali Chishti.
By introducing these championships Pakistan golf was propelled in the international arena. The first national amateur championship was played at Rawalpindi Golf Club in 1961 and was won by J.G. Donwine and the ladies champion was Mrs. Hastings. The first Pakistani to win the national championship was late Ibrahim Musa at Lahore Gymkhana Golf Club in 1962 and the first Pakistani lady to win the nationals was Miss Ghazala Ansari at Peshawar Golf Club in 1964. The first Pakistan Open Golf Championship played in! 967 at Lahore Gymkhana and was won by Amin Taqi Butt.
Armed Forces of Pakistan took keen interest in promoting the game country wide with its efforts to make golf courses in every cantonment and open the sport to public. It will be only fair to mention the names of the pioneers of golf in Pakistan, Late Field Marshal M. Ayub Khan, Late General Musa, Late Justice A.R. Cornelius, Late General Zia ul Haq, Late Major General Wasiuddin and Air Marshall M. Asghar Khan. Without their out right support to the game Pakistan golf would not be where it stands today.
Over the year the game grew in leaps and bound in Pakistan professional players cadre was introduced and amateurs were already participating in international events abroad and home. Pakistan’s amateur teams started touring overseas and Pakistan’s presence was being felt in the South East Asian countries.
A young swash buckling golfer was born and he single handedly changed the face of golf for Pakistan home and abroad. He projected the image of the country to a level where people started to recognize Pakistan’s potential in golf. Taimur Hassan Amin (Timmy) as a young teenager was a finalist in the Ceylon Amateur Championship in 1967. He was the first Pakistani to win a championship abroad. He won Sri Lanka amateur in 1975. In 1977 he was the winner of the individual position in the Asia Amateur Team Championships at Kuala Lumpur. He has numerous international championships to his credit. Timmy has won sixteen national championships and three Pakistan Open Golf Championships. He is also a recipient of Prize and Performance medal for President of Pakistan.
Pakistan golf and has moved a long way from 1947. Pakistan has the honor of hosting the first Pakistan Open on the Asian Circuit in 1989. All the top players of the Asian Circuit came to play the event at Lahore. In the 1990’s two Pakistan Master’s were played and they were part of the Omega Tour. In 2006 Pakistan Open came back on the Asian Tour, fore runner of the Asian Circuit. In 2007 for the second time Pakistan Open was hosted on the Asian Tour, the prize money was US$ 300,000/ highest ever not only in golf but in any sport in Pakistan.
For the first time in the history of the game in Pakistan, “HOW TO TEACH THE TEACHER PROGRAMME” has commenced. This programme is funded by R&A. This enables our local teaching professionals to teach golf with proper methodology. Time is not far that we will see Pakistani golfers on the European and American tours.
Currently the two top professional players of Pakistan Shabbir Iqbal and M. Munir are performing on the Asian Tour. There ability is at par with any professional players of the world. Amongst the top amateur players in the country namely Faisal Qureshi M. Sajid, Aimal Zaman and Taimur Hussian, have won tournament abroad and brought laurels to the country.
In 2004 Lt General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was elected President of the Pakistan Golf Federation and Taimur Hassan as the secretary. All the revolutionary ideas to improve the game of golf in the country is done under the able guidance of the president PGF. Again in 2009 General Kayani was re elected as the president PGF for the term of four years.
Pakistan for the first time qualified in the World Cup 2009, under the new format, which is best ball and foursome. Pakistan team consisted of M. Shabbir and M. Munir played well at Mission Hills Golf Resorts, China. Pakistan finished 22nd by beating Spain and Canada.
Pakistan golf will grow more with the passage of time.