The Karachi Golf Club (KGC), under the active patronage of the Pakistan Navy nurturing a large civilian membership, recently celebrated its 130th birthday with a big time bang by hosting the US$ 300,000 Asian Tour played for the UMA-CNS Trophy. Immediately thereafter, no sooner had the world class players from the four corners of the world left its rolling meadows and heavily forested woodlands, that we saw a large troop of very smartly turned out young ladies in white and maroon school uniforms, tread the same green earth that the crème de la crème of Asian professional golfers had tread not so very long ago.
Under the inspired prodding of Shaha Jamshed, the City School PECH Girls Campus decided to take to golf, and in a memorable field trip set out to see for themselves what all this fuss about Urban Forests, and a game that was generally understood to be a game for the elderly, was all about.
#GolfingGirls, a subsidiary enterprise of the AA Finishing School, rolled out the Golf Orientation & Nature Walk for 80 plus students and teachers, with Commander Majid Satti PN (Secretary KGC) conducting the demonstration segment assisted by 5 resident professionals, and Fawzia Naqvi (Lady Captain KGC) taking the tour out onto the lush green grass of the golf course in a brisk 1.5 km midday walk that left the girls and their teachers in a bit of a sweat, but thoroughly exhilarated and inspired in a way that only the Great Outdoors can exhilarate and inspire. The cherry on the cake were the 28 girls who signed up for regular golf lessons.
In this day and age of global anarchy and chaos projected into our living-rooms and personal lives through the television and Internet, the mental health of the citizenry has been put at tremendous risk, with depression and despondency becoming an unfortunate, all pervasive reality.
The advice on offer from scientific quarters is to seek the solitude of forests and other natural landscapes wherein one can escape from the harsh existence of the concrete jungle and quieten and calm the mind, letting Nature sooth frayed and jangled nerves, especially amongst the young who have very alarmingly and increasingly been drawn to committing suicide.
A new trend gaining increasing traction, thankfully, is the generation of Urban Forests in public spaces that have as yet not been encroached upon by the building mafia. The promise of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s billion tree tsunami for Sindh notwithstanding, Karachi’s corporate sector has risen to the challenge with Rashid Abdulla’s IBL Group launching the Green Initiative with a war chest of 100 million rupees to be deployed in one calendar year. Bravo.
The Green Initiative is being spearheaded by Maj. Gen. Tariq Suri (Rtd) as its CEO, and it is forging partnerships with both private and public stakeholders with large tracts of land in their possession and willing to dedicate it to the planting and nurturing of lush green urban forests that, in addition to offering shady protection from life threatening heat waves, will attract a larger quantum of rain, Inshallah, to this perpetually water starved city.
In the meantime, hats off to the Karachi Golf Club that was set up in 1888, and turned from desert brown and chocolate to lush green beginning in the 1990s. Since then over a million trees have been planted and nurtured, with a few around the Clubhouse that date back 100 years and more, making for a breathtaking sight of Nature’s tree art that leaves the mind inspired and the lungs filled with oxygen and the goodness of life. The rolling green meadows that form the golfing fairways sooth the eyes, interspersing the urban forest over 200 plus acres cared for by a small army of gardeners under the watchful gaze and guidance of the KGC Course Superintendent.
It takes time to grow trees, and while planting saplings is a first and essential step, it is the nurturing and caring on a daily basis that tests one’s commitment and endurance. Bravo KGC. Bravo Pakistan Navy.
Report filed by Adil Ahmad (Corporate Communications Consultant, TCS Holdings Pvt Ltd)