Salman Aslam

Candid Schmooze


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The grand finale of the PGF Golfing Calendar 2018 as far as Punjab was concerned was holding the prestigious 37th Punjab Open from 21-25 March 2018. The venue again was the opulent, ethereal and majestic Raya Golf Club DHA Lahore. The well nestled and ensconced golf course itself was a challenge for all. Undoubtedly this course is quintessential as far as maintenance and degree of difficulty is concerned. Albeit by all means it can boast of being a course par excellence. Its lightning fast greens measured by the strip meter were in range of 11.

After torrential deluge a day earlier weather was excellent for golf. Fairways were verdant, immaculate and pristine. Bunkers had the finest sand available for exquisite sand saves. Tees were flat, well mowed and manicured. Greens hold was superb with lot of backspin as flop shot by lob wedges resulted in lot of backspin. This bespeaks of the tremendous effort put in maintaining such a high quality golf course.

The setting of the event cloistered with a labyrinth of obstacles and merciless rough proved to be an acid test for golfers of all stature/abilities. For most it was the proverbial Waterloo. They vanquished into total disarray. 3-4 putts on greens were a common feature for even the most adept. Pin placements were treacherous coupled with massive undulations which were hard to cope. The event was spread over 5 days from 21-25 March 2018. Additional day allocated for subsidiary matches, senior amateurs and senior pros. By all reckoning course was well maintained as per international standards.

Day 1 dedicated to rounds by senior pros, Ladies and senior amateurs. Main feature was the Senior Amateurs segment dominated by Tariq Mahmood golfer of formidable class and stature. Displaying vintage golfing attributes he again took centre stage by eclipsing Imran Ahmed from Gymkhana by a solitary stroke. Javed Khan bagged 3rd slot in gross. The net honours winner was a complete surprise in form of Brig Zahid Maqbool Zippy who tamed his nearest rivals Abdul Haseeb and Kang Chong Jinn. He exploited his handicap of 14 and paced his game well.

In the senior pro segment champions of last century displayed repository of strokes and deftness in short game. Akhtar Ali of Lahore Gymkhana emerged as the winner with gross 71. Imdad and Akram with identical scores fell out of reckoning as winner was declared on best scores of last 3 holes.

In Ladies category of handicaps 24 and below it was dominated by Parkha Ijaz right from the outset with phenomenal rounds of 72 on both days. Humnah Amjad clinched 2nd gross followed by vintage golfer of yester years Ghazala Yasmin 3rd gross. In net section Suneyah Osama of Garrison was declared net winner followed by Ana James Gill and Shazadi Gulfam.

There is a dire need for another day for senior pros and amateurs. 36 holes would prove to be a real acid test for these vintage golfers.

This event was the culmination point for the pros. Those demonstrating mastery in surmounting the slopes, deceptive greens and Bermuda grass remained in the hunt. Rest perished ignominiously. Course is ensconced within the boundaries of residential houses at the periphery. From tee to the green lateral water hazards meander in a zig zag manner interspersed with undulations and slopes. Gradient and incline at places is pronounced. Types of slope are side hill, ball above and below feet. Out of bounds and lateral water hazards skirt the fairways posing ominous threat to tarnish score cards. Best course strategy and management entails hitting away from the hazards.

To cater for the slopes alterations in stance, ball position and type of shot favoured have to be kept in mind. Those who made optimum use of slopes and humps fared well. They trapped their ball in such manner that ball trickled close to the hole for a birdies galore. Fade and draw adjustments have to be made. Wind factor also comes into play. To add to the litmus test fairways are studded and straddled with deep bunkers. Further on the greens are jealously guarded by a maze of Redan and circumvallation type of bunkers. Ultra-fast greens with grading speed 12 further compounds the misery of the average golfer.

In the backdrop of this ominous scenario Punjab Open commenced. Those exhibiting dexterity and adroitness in combating these challenges stood out from the rest of the pack. To steal the honours players of vintage level required forte in all facets of the game. Top laurels belong to those with a complete repertoire of strokes in their armoury. This entailed hitting maximum fairways, hitting greens in regulation with deft irons, mastery in green speed reading and drilling putts. Apart from this scrambling pars and sand saves. The finishing 18th hole is indeed the toughest signature hole to crack with a most intricate pin placement on final day. Another feature of this picturesque course is elongated lateral water hazards skirting the fairways. To further add misery for the pack they narrow down precariously making approach shot making perilous and marring scorecards atrociously.

In backdrop of two resounding victories Number 1 golfer Shabbir Iqbal was the hot favourite and reigning champion. Yet again he proved his mettle by some stunning golf entirely stupefying the field. With a birdie blitz he carded a 66 on day 1. On day 2 his score was a modest 71.

He cemented his position as number 1 golfer of Pakistan. The year has been a resounding and pulsating one for Shabbir as he sought to extend his string of victories culminating at a triumphant note. Shabbir committed minimum cardinal errors. Lest a few fauxpas. Shabbirs course management was flawless as he finished the closing stretch unrattled. Nearest contender was Matloob of Garrison in second slot followed by Hamza Amin son of illustrious golfer Taimur Hassan. Both these golfers are playing steady golf and have the capability to upstage Shabbir.

The sponsors were motley of major bankers with Hondas up for grabs for an ace. In amateurs category dominance of Ghazanfar Mahmud was ominously threatened by Taimur of Peshawar followed by Khawaja Ahsan, Robin Bagh and Saqib. Event was planned and conducted with precision par excellence by scorer Nauman. Ahmed Zafar Hayat regained his former glorious form by carding a 74. He frittered his chances with a dismal 82 on day 2. Fakhar Imam of Raya demonstrated exquisite golfing as usual despite his involvement in organizing the tournament. Worst score of 118 gross was recorded by one of the professionals. Absence of Ahmed Baig Pakistan’s newest find and sensation was felt as degree of ferocity of competitiveness would have increased manifold.

Final Day: On final day amateurs segment honours went to Taimur Hassan of Peshawar with a convincing margin of 4 strokes over Robin Bagh who relegated Ghazanfar Hussain to 3rd slot by a solitary stroke. Net winner was Danish Javed net 220 followed by Khawaja Ahsan net 221. Weather was ideal for golf and low scoring. The field was star studded. Competitive levels fierce. There was no paucity of time. Consequently event was orchestrated with clock like precision and synchronization. The main attraction was the professionals vying for the top slot and hefty prize money. Shabbir Iqbal fresh from his spectacular victory by a resounding margin at Gymkhana continues to ride the high crest of glory being a hot favourite to retain his crown. Matloob was a threat to reckon with by continually bearing down his neck to wrest number 1 slot. Their rivalry continues.

The grand finale the pros match commenced in a melodramatic fashion. Shabbir set the pace with a pulverizing and electrifying round of 66 and setting the field ablaze. Day 2 was a day of vacillating fortunes. Shabbir did not match his earlier tantalizing score and settled for a 71. Matloob and Hamza Amin led charge of the light brigade by posting steady scores and came within a stroke adrift of Shabbir. A promising golfer from Raya Muhammad Alam and Munir also remained in the hunt. Other performances were lacklustre.

Crowning glory on the 3rd proved decisive. Matloob of Garrison avenged his earlier defeats with an electrifying performance carding gross 68 on final day. Hamza Amin again wilted and buckled under pressure carding a dismal 79. Nevertheless the most electrifying and spell binding performance came from Matloob who dethroned last year’s winner Shabbir Iqbal. Alam from Raya clinched 3rd position
In the end it was Matloob who grabbed the honours to be crowned Punjab Open Champ 2018. Matloob proved beyond any iota of doubt his vast supremacy over the rest of the field. He showed complete mastery in all facets of the game. He replicated all strokes under pressure. Matloob exhibited vast repository of shots in his armoury. Nailed his tee shots, hit maximum greens in regulation plus scrambling and sand saves for par were indeed phenomenal. Putting was also ultra-precise and workmanlike. The champ remained composed and cool during extreme pressure. This sterling attribute separates him from the entire field. Richly deserves to win his 2nd tournament of the golfing circuit.

The prize distribution was grand affair graced by President PGF Lt Gen Mian Hilal Hussain himself an avid golfing enthusiast.


posted by Salman Aslam @ 8:59 AM, , links to this post

5TH JA Zaman Open Golf 2018 SYNOPSIS

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J Zaman family sponsored golf tournament kicked off at the pristine, manicured and closely mowed sand splattered greens of Lahore Gymkhana from 8-11 March 2018.

Weather pundits’ predictions figured a highly favourable golfing environment. Golfing arrangements were immaculate and meticulously monitored. Sponsored by the family of late avid golfer lot of prizes were up for grabs.

Another underlying feature has been allocation of an additional day to cater for subsidiary, seniors, veterans and boys categories segments. This certainly augers well. Professionals and amateurs can give an exhibition of their dexterity unfazed by organisational fauxpas. Lahore Gymkhana course requires massive improvement and innovation in course design to make it formidable in consonance with international standards. The only two courses at Lahore meeting some semblance of international standard circuit are The Defence Raya and Royal Palm courses. New PAF course with its challenging fairways and greens is a great addition to the bevy of courses at Lahore.
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posted by Salman Aslam @ 9:16 AM, , links to this post

Post Tournament Report Quaid e Azam Amateur Golf Tournament 2018

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Quaid e Azam Open Golf tournament was held from 9th to -11th February 2018 at the opulent and majestic Lahore Gymkhana Club course. The magnanimously sponsored golfing extravaganza was of 3 days duration. Event was meticulously planned and conducted in a befitting manner. Event unfortunately clashed with Garrison Open Golf being held concurrently at Garrison Golf Club.

Consequently the amateurs were split between the two tournaments. Seniors and some ladies manged to squeeze in as garrison event were spread over 4 days with a cushion space. Pakistan’s new golfing sensation Ahmed Baig fresh from his victory at Qatar opted to play at garrison and won by a whopping 12 strokes. Some semblance of coordination is required to ensure that competition dates are staggered. The main feature of Quaid e Azam Amateur was its return to the golfing calendar after lapse of many years. Golf Committee deserves accolade for its return. The other feature was that coveted trophy was to be played on best net score. Entry of 18 handicapper’s having tremendous incentive to win was indeed encouraging.

The sponsors offered really lucrative prizes as an additional incentive.

Weather was ideal for golf and low scoring. The field was star studded. Competitive levels fierce. There was no paucity of time. Consequently event was orchestrated with clock like precision and synchronization. The main attraction fell in the net category vying for the top slot and elusive trophy..
The match commenced in a melodramatic fashion. Dark horses shot low scores owing to inflated handicaps warranting revision. Amateurs were divided into two segments of handicaps 0-9 and 10-18. Scintillating rounds in low 70s by Ghazanfar and Rehman outclassed field in gross category. 

Day 2 was a day of vacillating fortunes. Ameer Khawar from Sialkot a 9 handicapper came from behind and shot the best round of net 65 and stole the limelight and won the prestigious Quaid e Azam trophy. Scoring was high and erratic on day 2 as golfers cracked under pressure with dismal rounds.

It was ironic that a 9 handicap player won the tournament. In the past the honours went to golfers in 14-18 categories. In 10-18 segment Dr Dildar Chaudhry won convincingly by 6 strokes over the chasing pack.

Others who made a charge were Ahmed Jib ran and Robin Bagh. Other performances were lacklustre. Nevertheless the most electrifying and spell binding performance came from Sialkot’s Ameer Khawar who shot a mercurial gross 74.

He proved beyond any iota of doubt his vast supremacy over the rest of the field. He showed complete mastery in all facets of the game. He replicated all strokes under pressure. He exhibited vast array of shots in his armoury. Nailed his tee shots, hit maximum greens in regulation plus scrambling and sand saves for par were indeed phenomenal. Putting was also ultra-precise and workmanlike. The champ remains unruffled and unfazed during extreme pressure. This sterling attribute separates him from the entire field. In the senior amateur category champs of the yesteryears grappled for the senior’s title. Veteran golfer Imran Ahmed of Gymkhana eclipsed Omer Farooq and Dr Javed to win gross prize. Net honours went to Hamid Sharif of Royal Palm.

In the ladies competition 22 ladies entered the arena with maximum handicap of 36. Sister duo of Parkha Ijaz and Rimsha Ijaz outclassed the field which included former champions Ghazala Yasmin. Parkha score of gross 78 speaks volumes about her passion for golf. Rest of the field was completely annihilated. Shezadi Gulfam another vintage golfer stood first in net segment.

Prize Distribution ceremony was well organised and attended. The event proved to be a resounding success. Prizes were distributed by Chairman Lahore Gymkhana Kamran Lashari.


posted by Salman Aslam @ 11:32 AM, , links to this post

Post Match Report Garrison Open 2018

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The elite golf tournament was held under aegis of LGG&CC from 8th to 11 February 2018. The setting, ambience and atmosphere were festive and frolicsome at the pristine, manicured and well maintained golf course. The star studded field attracted top professionals on the countries elitist golfing circuit. The event was spread-eagled over 4 days. One day especially allotted to cater for subsidiary, veteran and seniors event. The event attracted nearly 60 professionals. Other categories were amateurs, senior amateurs, ladies and senior pros. As part of a talent hunt venture juniors event was also held. Youngsters exhibited exceptional an extraordinary golfing repertoire. In Pakistan there is no dearth of talent at the grassroots level. Unfortunately it needs to be tapped and explored. Additional attractions were a subsidiary match and a senior officer invitational. Main sponsors of the event were Suzuki which offered a glittering Suzuki Ciaz for an ace.

Being an Open Event main contest was in the professional’s category. The professional category contest was excruciatingly neck to neck ending in a nail biting fashion. Amateur’s participation ad turnout was low as an amateur’s event was being held side by side at Lahore Gymkhana. PGF must ensure that 2 events on same dates are not held in the same city.

Only 11 players in the field played sub-par rounds. As anticipated Shabbir Iqbal dominated the proceedings from the outset. His closest rival Munir, Matloob and Hamza Amin buckled and wilted under pressure. Lowest recorded score was 66 by 3 players including Hamza Amin son of Taimur Amin a former golfing giant of Pakistan. Eventually it was Shabbir of Islamabad who stole the limelight by breaking away from the chasing pack with a scintillating display of golf par excellence. This time he had only 2 sub-par rounds.

Munir, Hamza and Matloob of Garrison were close at his heels wilted under pressure against cool demeanour of the champion. Water hazards on 16th and 18th marring their score cards. Aggregate of 206 -10 was the winning score. Margin of victory was 4 strokes over His team mate from Islamabad Muhammad Munir who edged out Hamza by a solitary stroke.

Matloob from Garrison could not find his deftness and touch around the apron and was over shadowed by a phenomenal round of 69 by Shahid Javed Khan. Rest of the pack displayed lacklustre performances on fringe of mediocrity.

Champion displayed deft touch a finesse around the greens by saving pars. Hit thundering drives in the fairways. His iron play was awesome hitting maximum greens in regulation. In the amateurs gross category competition was even fiercer. Ahmed Baig Pakistan’s golfing sensation outclassed the field by a massive margin ofv12 strokes and 2 sub-par rounds bespoke of his dexterity. This was reflective of the tenacity, resoluteness and focus of players till the last stroke.

In amateurs net segment old guard Lt Col Shafi eclipsed the field by displaying steady golf. Champions of yester years were in the hunt for glory in senior’s amateurs and professional category. Lt Col Ikram WC Umar and Haseeb shared the honours in this category. Former champions Mehmood Kayani playing a phenomenal sub-par round of 69 followed by Akhtar Ali also displayed their adroitness in senior pros segment. Another segment senior veterans over 70 years of age comprised septuagenarians golfers of the last few decades displayed their prowess, finesse and suppleness in their swings. Mian Farooq Sheikh emerging outright winner followed by vintage golfers Brig Amanullah Niazi and Shahid Mehboob.

17 ladies entered the arena for the coveted gross and net categories played over 36 holes. Former national champ Ghazala Yasmin with an enviable 5 handicap was eclipsed by the sister duo of Rimsha and Parka. The margin of victory was only a solitary stroke.

Prize distribution was a well-attended and impressive ceremony graced by the Corps Commander Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz. Event on the whole was well organised and the management deserve kudos. Sponsors also warrant recognition for playing a pivotal role in promotion of golf. In recognition of the stellar performance of Ahmed Baig at Qatar PGF gave a magnanimous grant of 1(M) followed by0.3 (M) by PGA. This bespeaks of the degree of incentive for upcoming golfers of the country.

Massive changes are required to make the course more challenging in consonance with international circuits. Undulations, water hazards, and bunkers need to be added. Area round 50 yards fringe and apron was devoid of grass where one could see pros using putters to avoid chunks and shanks. There were complaints encompassing this portion where lob wedges are used for the flop shot. Relaying of greens and high quality grass in fairways is warranted badly. It is proposed that senior’s amateur event should be at least 36 holes as per PGF policy.


posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:27 PM, , links to this post

Bon Vivant Hole 19 at Lahore Garrison

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The grand opening of Hole 19 at Lahore Garrison and Country Club with all its razzle-dazzle has been a booming success. Gormandizers and bon vivants congregate to savour the mouth-watering and tantalizing cuisine being offered. Serene Location it offers the ideal ambience and atmosphere for food connoisseurs. It offers alfresco dining along with soiree. Leather bound chairs offer added comfort and relaxation.

On entrance one is gleefully greeted by a refined staff trained by the burly Manager F&B Khurram. Cleanliness is impressive. The setting is stunningly aesthetic. Décor and seating further glorifies the ambiance accentuated by exquisite lighting sequences ideal for fine dining. Colour combination is refined and stimulating.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:04 PM, , links to this post

Courses Profile Data / Compendium

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PGF is contemplating compiling a Golf Compendium/website containing courses / clubs profile of all its golf courses.

2.         For promotion of golf and wider publicity of golf courses in Pakistan this compendium is being prepared. This can be circulated to all leading hotels, PTDC, airports and communication centers. In this regard maximum input would be required from the concerned golf clubs to make this herculean task possible. Following data and input is requires making it all encompassing:- 

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 12:57 PM, , links to this post

Sauntering on the Shores of Lake Michigan Door Countypeninsula Wisconsin USA

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Next on the list of gallivanting across the US was the state of Wisconsin and its ethereal Door County Peninsula on the shores of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin a mid-western state located in the Great Lakes region. Is a state famous for its dairy products especially butter and cheese. It is world famous in manufacturing of Harley Davidson motor bikes at Menomonee Falls and museum at Milwaukee.

Door County is a tourism bonanza where tourists flock in droves during summer. The rustic, quaint and tranquil town’s population swells in thousands during the season bolstering the tourist extravaganza.The Wisconsinites after battling a severe winter where temperatures plummet to minus 25 degree Celsius move to greener pastures of Door County for a period of rest and reinvigoration.

Door County Peninsula is easily accessible from Maddison, Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis within 2- 4 hour driving times respectively.

Door Peninsula juts inside separating southern segment of Green Bay from Lake Michigan. Beyond the tip of peninsula is the elusive Washington Island. It was an island which became a ship captain’s nightmare in inclement weather to steer clear of this strait.

Summer season exhibits a carnival like ambiance with cherry picking and apple orchards in plenitude. The area is studded with lighthouses like Eagle Bluff and Baileys Harbour Light house for reasons of extreme safety. Strait encompassing Washington Island is cunningly deceptive littered with remnants of ship wrecks.

Major towns are Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Baileys Harbour and Ephraim. We kicked off from Eau Claire ambling across to Door Peninsula a 4 hour jaunt. We hunkered down for a 2 day stay at Blacksmith Inn on the Shore at Baileys Harbour. Cloistered on the shores of Lake Michigan it afforded a breath taking view of the entire lake front. The rooms were delectable with all modern amenities and complimentary breakfast, kayaks and bikes all-inclusive in the package.

We indulged in creative pursuits like fishing, kayaking, and biking ambling nonchalantly in such exquisite surroundings away from the hustle-bustle of city life.

Door County peninsula is famed for the best fish in US mid-west. Local eateries excel in fish delicacies whose taste one savours for a long time. These comprise Walleye, Salmon, northern pike, brown trout, Brooke and Rainbow trout.

The visit is virtually incomplete without witnessing the bizarre Fish Boil event. This is a Scandinavian traditional event where fresh Lake Michigan White Fish is prepared in a cauldron in front of the customers with all the fanfare and heraldry.

The other event which must not be missed is the sunset over the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan. The county has fascinating landscape and beaches to ramble across coupled with pristine hiking trails to explore. For the triathlon types biking trails are plenty in store to traverse.

Wisconsin has developed notoriety for having an immense deer population on the rampage in summer posing a grave threat to motorists. Other places of interest are Crystal Caves and Dells.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 8:50 AM, , links to this post

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