Comment: There is a difference between golf and hockey

Wedding of Pakistani actor Ushna Shah and golfer Hamza Amin brought the worst out of our social media

Khalid Hussain
Ushna Shah and Hamza Amin enter their valima reception venue. — Photo by author
Ushna Shah and Hamza Amin enter their valima reception venue. — Photo by author

Quite unsurprisingly, the recent celebrity wedding of television actor Ushna Shah and professional golfer Hamza Amin made a lot of headlines. However, what was surprising to me was the fact that some of the headlines were there for the wrong reasons.

As old family friends of the Amins, my wife and I attended their wedding reception on a warm yet pleasant evening last week at one of the posh venues that dot Karachi's creek. It was a perfect setting for the wedding of the season with a long list of celebrity guests in attendance. But soon there was a social media storm with trolls targeting the bride's wedding dress and the choice of music at the event.

Then wrong information began flooding and rattled even the otherwise composed Taimur Hassan Amin, father of the bridegroom. During the days when the wedding details went viral, Taimur, easily the most celebrated golfer Pakistan has ever produced, and his son Hamza, a leading professional and a qualified international coach were called “hockey players”. Later, time and again, Hamza was labelled as an Australian golfer with many confusing his Austrian connection (Hamza's mother Heidi is Austrian). It seems many in Pakistan are unaware of the difference.

For the benefit of the uninitiated, I'll briefly jot down the accomplishment of the legendary Taimur and his son Hamza in the field of golf. If golf were a popular sport in Pakistan, I would not have had to introduce Taimur — known in the golfing circles as Timmy. He would have been a household name in this country.

He is the most successful amateur golfer in Pakistan, having won a record number of national and international titles during an illustrious career. Taimur has also served as secretary of the Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) and was recently re-elected (unopposed) as the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC). To me, he was the biggest celebrity at his son’s wedding.

Hamza, too, is an accomplished golfer. In 2011, years after his father's last title-winning triumph in the National Amateur, Hamza won the prestigious title to make history as the two are the only father-and-son pair to have claimed the coveted trophy. He turned professional in 2012 and quickly rose in the ranks. Last year, he won the Austrian Open in Salzburg.

Golf was the central theme at Hamza and Ushna's valima reception in Islamabad last week. Timmy brought a few clubs and golf balls. The guests hit a few balls in the lake, but the high point came when the bride, dressed in her white sari, drove one perfectly into the lake. Earlier, the guests gave the couple a guard of honour holding golf clubs on their arrival at the venue.

Golf is expected to dominate the couple's lives in the years to come. Hamza is planning to take his career as a golf professional to the next level and is also looking to consolidate his coaching credentials. That's not all. Ushna has taken a liking to the sport with a family source confirming that she is all set to take up golf in the near future. Take a look at the video of her hitting a drive and you’ll know that she has a knack for it.