With ?browns? rather than ?greens?, re-cycled effluent pouring out of the sprinklers, concrete tees and rocky outcrops posing as fairways, the Joint Services Golf Club at Dhekelia Garrison in Cyprus is certainly no Augusta. However, for those from Her Majesty’s forces who find themselves in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area, the club is a life-saver.
Eleven of the course?s holes fall inside the base’s wires, making it interesting for outsiders ? if you can get in that is. The club, which was established in 1964, is made up of “entitled” (serving British Forces personnel) and “non-entitled” (ex-pats, ex–service men) members in a 85%-15% ratio. There is no pay-and-play here, with every member undergoing rigorous security checks. However, once you are in, you get a great deal with membership fees starting at £240 per year.
If you are a links golfer and bemoan the odd bad bounce, you should spare a thought for the men and women struggling around this course. ?For most of the year the fairways are bare and brown and provide extremely awkward lies,? says long-time member Denis Lawrence. ?The holes inside the wire are set among undulating rocky outcrops and make finding your ball easier but it does get a bit easier once you get to those holes outside the wire!?
If you can find your way onto the ?browns? you might think your troubles are over ? think again. The consistency of an oil and sand mix on a concrete base makes judging pace very tricky, especially if it is well trodden. The ?browns? also lie an inch or two below the surrounding grass ? as such players are allowed to move their ball around the edge to allow room for a backswing.
There are two main things to remember if you are lucky enough to play the Joint Services Golf Club course: carry a bottle of water to soften the ground below your ball and don?t go wandering off into the base to ?look for your ball?.