Golf fanatics tackle Namibia's barren dunes
Updated: 2006-05-30 16:00
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.
Geinub plays a shot 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
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.
"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.
The terrain also makes for tough golfing country, although this has not
discouraged the West Side Club irregulars.
"I eat golf, dream golf, sleep golf, everything in my mind is golf," says
Christof Kuludu, 23, his excited eyes peering out from beneath a blue hat.
"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.
The development program at the Windhoek course could not keep up with the new
"There is definitely growing interest and we are trying to help with
development as much as possible," he said.