It is as if Beirut and the adjoining areas, with which it has a deep kinship and social connection, to the point of integration and integration, successively, in a planned and systematic way, lose many of its cultural and heritage features, which over the decades was the pride of all the Lebanese, and the focus of admiration and attention of all Arab visitors And the aliens !!!
What urges us at this point to say this is the controversy surrounding the “tweet” (we hope it’s just a slip of a finger on the phone), regarding the transformation of the “golf” club into a energy production plant with all its environmental, health and tourism risks to the sea, including the “incubating environment.” !!!
Is Beirut, exhausted and tired, and its environment not enough, that it has suffered and still suffers from “burning”, deterioration, pollution, brutal cement arrogance, the invasion of tall towers and buildings, and the transgressions of influential people, at the expense of green spaces, public parks and its sea coast ?!
Has the “golf” club, with its antiquity and symbolism as a sports, social and economic tourist building, in addition to the fact that together with the American University it constitutes 94% of the green space in Greater Beirut, it is undesirable for its survival, and therefore pressure is exerted to remove it ?!
Realize those pursuers in the only remaining club in Lebanon dedicated to this high-end game that Lebanon has preceded many surrounding countries by creating the game of “golf” in Lebanon, and that the game thrives in many Arab countries because it tourism, environmental and property dimensions, as it affects the rise in the indicators of golf. Economic country !?
It is noteworthy in this context that many Arab countries have invested in the game of “golf” by spreading more than one course and attracting tourists to be a tourist destination rather than others in terms of space.
To demonstrate the nobility of this golf club and its importance at all levels, we must recall its glorious history from its inception to the present day. The Golf Club was established in 1923, but an important transformation took place in 1963, as the club’s management agreed to invest 200,000 square meters of land belonging to the Civil Aviation Directorate in Ouzai, and to club from the old airport road to the new land, under a contract A bid was awarded to the club in 1963 for a period of 15 years, in exchange for a grant of 1 100 Lebanese pounds annually, with the aim of sand with weeds, then there was a deserted sandy area, where it was agreed to exploit this sandy area to prevent the deterioration of the soil, by using that soil to play a game of “Golf” and other sports , until the club can establish the construction it needs, using some of the buildings and constructions owned by the directorate, which were not necessary at the time.
The directorate’s goal at the time was to prevent the sand from blowing from that land, and it was feared that it would impede air traffic.
It is noteworthy that the club was founded at that time (1923) by enthusiastic and prominent Lebanese diplomats, to keep pace with the modernity movement. Hills of sand and pine trees in the vicinity of Bir Hassan, which the Ottoman governor Ibrahim Pasha fenced off Beirut in the early nineteenth century. Later, these hills became “high sand” and the pine trees were cleared by the airport.
Lebanon is one of the first Arab countries to participate in tournaments, either Arab by establishing the Arab Federation, or Mediterranean countries by participating in the Mediterranean or Asian Games and the World Golf Championships.
After being a hobby to go to the club, the game took the path of institutionalization as the “Golfers Association” was founded in the early seventies. Van Beirut, the flag of the first session of the Arab Championship, where the “Arab Golf Federation” was founded, and correspondence with the Arab countries began to encourage them to participate with a sports goal and Arab merger, so there was a Arab tournament, where all Arab clubs meet annually in a specific country.
Today, it covers an area of approximately 425,000 square meters, to be the largest remaining green space in southern Beirut near Rafic Hariri International Airport.
This club is not only limited to “golf”, but also includes 7 tennis courts, a swimming pool, and halls of brain games, and hosts many major tournaments, whether local or international, as well as many other activities.
It is noteworthy that the golf course consisted of 9 holes until 1982, but the Israeli invasion destroyed and completely destroyed the golf course, and due to the damage caused by the Israeli attacks, the area around the golf course was completely wiped out. . , which prompted its owners to sell it, according to Salam, was an opportunity for club members to buy shares in that land, which increased the area of the golf course from 9 holes to 18 holes.
It took two years to expand and rebuild the golf course, which opened in 1984.
The club currently includes about 900 joint families as members, in exchange for an annual membership fee, provided club members are required to pay an initial membership fee of $ 15,000 upon registration as a contribution to support the club. Members are entitled to benefit from all the services provided by the club, the most important of which are training in golf and other sports activities (tennis, swimming and the use of the restaurant inside …). All citizens and golf lovers are entitled to practice and play for a sum of money.
The club also aims to introduce the game “golf” to schools and to organize matches between them, which qualifies each student to obtain a free card to play golf in the club …
The national duty, the environmental responsibility and the “sportsmanship” of the officials (!) Require the preservation of this green space, and that the sound of the rocket when the small white balls are touched resonates throughout the club, so that the “golf” club remains a tourist destination, welcomes visitors to Lebanon through “Rafic Hariri International Airport”, a meeting place for Lebanese families, and makes the game available to all groups.
Ziad Sami Itani