On a pleasant April morning, the traffic was virtually nonexistent on the Murree Expressway. The post-dawn air was crisp and the beauty of the weather was worth the uphill journey. I was quietly anticipating a great round at Chinar Golf Club. The road briskly snaked through the mountains crossing all hurdles smoothly. I cruised in my trusty SUV maintaining pace and performance. The spiritual genre of the morning music further soothed the shoofly of the turnings to tranquility and hope.
In a drunken style, my chauffeur shifted in the driving seat from one side to another, completely coherent with the curves of the hillside expressway. Unlike my soul, my big tummy didn’t appreciate the waves after waves of those turns. Despite all that, the road to Murree has its unique scenes and sequence. Each time I embark on this road, it feels like it’s the first time.
Not all roads take us home nor do all journeys lead us to destinations. Sometimes we undertake unwanted voyages that take us to undesired places. Other times, we go on explorations just for the sake of change or break in routine. Some desires die at the hands of inactions while others get fulfilled by chance. Some wishes are purposeful and others are impossible. One of such desires led me to these mountains. I was climbing these summits to culminate my golf at the top of these peaks. In the slopes of the mighty mountains dwells Chinar Golf Club, the eleventh highest golf club in the world. My flight includes three top golfers of the country. My nephew Mr. Eesa Eyaz, a champion in the making, Mr. Ahmad Baig, the hero who needs no introduction, and Sayed Raza Shah, a promising top ranker. Seeing them play so closely on this difficult course was a fun lesson. Their commitment to each short speaks of their skill and expertise. Ahmad spoke in a mellow tone and changed my game forever. And Raza pointed out bluntly what I was not doing right. We all were mesmerized by the ambiance of this amazing round.
Speaking of commitment, I must mention Col. Deg, who conceived a three-hole golf course in 1932 at this height. He definitely must have been a fanatic golfer. Mr. Gulab Khan, a local curator who executed that design, must have formed an alliance with the jinns to bring it to reality. How in the world one can think of playing golf in such topography? But colonial British were no less than Jinns themselves.
It also takes supernatural qualities to play golf on this mountainous course. The tee one sits on top of a hill while it takes deep slopes and steep climbs between tees and greens green. Tall tree lines do intercept the ball and golfers from reaching there. The whole round on this course is a strenuous ascend and descend. There are stairs to reach most of the tees, and it isn’t an easy task. Mostly we try to play over the trees to seldom succeed. Just like my golf game, and the weather of Bhurban, the result of the shot here is quite unpredictable. But perhaps that’s the exciting part.
Putting is nothing short of a magic trick here. The skin of greens on this course is natural and least treated. Nothing of the sort of PGA greens. This topography has its own qualities and limitations. One thing that is good about this course is the absence of water hazards. They are replaced by tree hazards. The Chir Pine, Blue Pine, Deodar, and Spruce are in a contest with each other to touch the blue sky. And pine needles are trying to cover the ground before the wild white daisy, aquilegia, and hydrangea. The flower spike of chestnut trees adds a unique blend of beauty.
It is impossible to ignore the chirping. How can one pass through Murree hills and Galiyat without noticing the Himalayan Indigo and other members of Fabaceae? Clouds also call these valleys home. They regularly play hide and seek with the birds of the skies of Bhurban. Black-headed Jays and Himalayan Woodpecker are few beauties to mention.
In this season, butterflies put on live shows in aisles of these tree trunks. The four-ring butterfly is a showstopper among them. They are fragile but determined flights do add another chapter to the story of this beautiful resort.
Mime adds a special texture to the beautiful lawns of the Chinar golf clubs.
Touching on this piece of paradise, being a part of a young flight, walking on a unique golf course, and cooperating with the perfect weather makes the ride to Bhurban worth the while. A trip to the mountains never disappoints.
Chinar Golf Club
Golfer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Author, Poet, Wanderer, Photographer, Rebel.