Bahrain had known golf since the start of oil discovery in the kingdom in 1934 when the expat staff working on oil extraction decided to build the first golf course in ‘Jabal Al Dukhan’ area near the well number one.
It was composed of nine holes, as the staff were golfing for fun after work hours. And when the expat staff started moving to live in the city of Awali, the first official golf course in Bahrain was created in 1937.
It consisted of 18 holes, where many working expats from the oil company as well as other citizens were playing golf.
The residents of Riffa city working in the oil company started to establish a golf course of their own in Al Hunainiya valley in 1962, in co-operation with Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO).
Some of Riffa golfers were Ali Hamad Fares - Mohammed Abdullah Al Habbal - Jabur Ahmed Al Khalifa - Saud Abdulaziz Busaud - Ahmed Hammoud - Ibrahim Salem - Abdullah Faisal - Hassan Al Khalifa - Essa Ahmed and Thani Salem.
The first official golf match was held at Al Hunainiya valley course in 1963 between Riffa Club and Awali. The Bahraini golfers also had the opportunity to participate in the first Open Golf Championship held in Bahrain in 1964. It was organized by the Awali Golf Club, with Ibrahim Salem winning the trophy.
In 1968, subcommittee of East Riffa Sports Committee to supervise golf, as members of this committee took part in open golf tournaments held in Bahrain and other GCC countries.
The Bahrain Golf Club was then launched in 1974 when a group of young golf devotees, headed by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Salman Al Khalifa, submitted a request to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to establish a specialty golf club.
Since then, the game of golf in the kingdom has been developing as Bahrain attended the founding meeting of golf championships in the Arab region, which was held in Lebanon on 12/18/1974.
Representing Bahrain at this meeting were Bahrain Golf Association president Shaikh Abdulla bin Salman Al Khalifa and Ebrahim Abdulkarim.
Following the meeting, Bahrain decided to participate in the First Arab Championship in Beirut in May 1975, and the Bahraini team claimed fifth place among eight countries. Spearheading the Bahrain team were Saif Saad Mohammed - Mohammed Ahmad Abdallah - Rashid Mesbah Khaled and Abdulaziz Yaqcoub Saleh.
Ever since then, Bahrain competed in all Arab golf championships, until the 2011 edition in Morocco, as the Bahrainis emerged overall winners on many occasions. They also hosted four Arab championships in 1983/1987/2000/2004.
The Bahraini team also took part in the golf championship as part of the Asian Games in India in 1982, which gave Bahrain more experience and exposure for future competitions.
And in 1983, Bahrain organised the Seventh Golf Tournament, which was held on the Awali Golf Club and managed to win the title in both the teams and individual events amidst the participation of nine Arab teams.
In 1978, the first premises of the Arab Golf Federation was founded in Bahrain by Shaikh Abdulla bin Salman Al Khalifa, who became the first president of the federation.
As part of the federation’s plans, the eighth edition of the Arab Championship was held at the Equestrian and Horseracing Club grounds in Sakhir, where an 18-hole golf course was founded. A total of eight countries took part as Bahrain lifted the title.
In 1993, Bahrain participated in the first GCC Golf Championship held under the umbrella of the GCC Golf Organising Committee and was hosted by Qatar sister. The Kingdom of Bahrain also won first place in this event.
Bahrain then organised the Second GCC Championship in 1994 and hosted the GCC Organising Committee meetings for four consecutive years, resulting in Bahrain having four golf tournaments on home soil in 1994/1998/2001/2011.
In 1995, the Bahraini Golf Committee was launched. Some of its objectives were to develop golf in the kingdom and expand its foundation, besides supporting the national teams in their participation in regional and international tournaments.
In 1996, Bahrain was accepted as member of the Asian Golf Federation and International Golf Federation for amateurs, as Bahrain benefited from the opportunities offered by these two international federations to develop the game.
From the prospect of the importance of spreading the golf game in Bahrain, the official launching of the Riffa Golf Club was in April 2000under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saeikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister.
The club then hosted the Arab Golf Championship for the first time the same year. A year later, in 2001, the Bahrain Golf Federation was founded and the federation played a significant role in searching for new talents as well as establishing its new building in bid to attract the young generation and form a solid foundation of golfers.
A group of professional and amateur golfers from Bahrain, the Arab region and overseas then took part in the King’s Cup Golf Championship, which was hosted in Bahrain for the first time in 2007 under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad.
In January 2011, with the support of the Economic Development Board, Bahrain hosted one round of the European Pro Tour’s inaugural Volvo Golf Champions tournament at the Royal Golf Club, where several senior golf professionals competed it out for glory.
Other golf achievements for Bahrain included a second-place finish at the Seventh World Military Championship in the US in October 2012 and the same team came third in the fifth edition of the championship in 2008 in Canada.
Bahrain also were second in the 32nd Arab Championship in Bahrain, where Nasser Yaqoub won the singles gold medal. Bahrain’s junior team bagged the GCC Golf Championships in Oman in February 2013, where the senior team won the gold medal in the team event, while Hamad Al Afnan and Nasser Yaqoub took the men’s senior singles silver and bronze medals, respectively.