Golf Pioneers

Stories from Aramco’s early sand course

When the clubs were wooden, and the greens were granular.

Stories from Aramco’s early sand course

In 1949, the first sand golf course was built south of the old hobby farm. It was a 27-hole golf course. The area on which the golf course was built seemed to be more fertile than its surroundings, which attracted herders to graze their goats and sheep on any emerging grass they could find. 


With time, the number of herders and golfers increased to the point where it became a bit dangerous. 


On a good golfing day, a lady golfer hit what looked like a good shot, following the ball excitedly until she saw her ball hit and kill a goat! She was terrified and sad, wondering what the consequences could be. The owner of the goat turned out to be a considerate man. He accepted a reasonable price for his goat, and the problem was solved. 


The incident might have had something to do with the relocation of the golf club house from its original location to the confines of the camp in 1972.

— Muhammad Manahi, longtime member of Rolling Hills Golf course



Weather also played havoc, but in different ways sometimes for the sand course. 


I remember one tournament held in Dhahran where the wind blew so much sand off some of the greens, the players had to chip about five times before it would stay on the green. 


Another time, the wind was so strong that the committee decided to allow the players to place their ball at the closest point it got to the hole on the green before it blew off.


—Gordon Rentz, former employee and longtime golfer in Dhahran


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