Meet the three generations of Tanzanian golf fanatics who bond on Dubai's courses

The Yusufali family - grandfather, father and son - have caught the golf bug and their time together on the course is 'priceless'

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When Habib Yusufali first saw people playing golf at Tanzania’s Arusha Gymkhana Club back in 1973, his reaction wasn’t exactly flattering. “What a crazy game, why would anyone ever want to play it?”

Fast-forward more than five decades, and the now-retired senior regularly tees it up on Dubai’s world-class courses not only with his son but also his grandson.

Habib, 84, his son Muzaffar, 64, and his son Shaneabbas, 34, are self-proclaimed ‘golf fanatics.’

The sport has been part of the Yusufali DNA ever since a friend convinced Habib to give it a shot when he was working as a manager at the Arusha Gymkhana Club in the 1970s.

“Being able to play golf with my son and grandson gives me a kind of happiness I can’t put into words,” he said. “We bond with each other, we have conversations about life – it’s very special.”

Habib was born in Tanzania’s capital Dodoma but has lived most of his life in Arusha, the city famous for being a gateway to safari destinations and Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.

Two months shy of celebrating his 85th birthday, Habib, who now spends his time between Dubai and Arusha, says playing golf keeps him fresh physically, and more importantly, mentally.

“The moment I’m on the course and hit that first tee shot, I forget everything even if I’m stressed or feeling down," he said. "I just concentrate on my game.”

Habib’s son Muzaffar first started playing golf in 1982, the same year he got married, something he thinks is no coincidence.

“Golf is my second wife,” he said with a laugh. “I’m crazy for the game, I can play it 365 days of the year if you give me the chance to.”

The 64-year-old father of four is now semi-retired and runs businesses back home in Arusha, including a popular hotel.

“Being out on the golf course with my father and son is a feeling I don’t think anyone can get,” he said. “The fact that all three of us can do something we love for four hours and be together at the same time is priceless.”

Having lived in Arusha their whole life, it was the youngest golfer of the family that brought the Yusufalis to Dubai. Shaneabbas came to the UAE to study in 2007 and hasn’t looked back since.

After graduating from university, he co-founded a luxury car care business called AMCC-Auto Mystique Car Care, which he runs on a day-to-day basis.

Growing up watching his father and grandfather play golf, it was almost inevitable that Shaneabbas would eventually catch the bug, too.

The father of three says getting on the golf course is the one time when he can “completely switch off".

Being able to play golf with my son and grandson gives me a kind of happiness I can’t put into words
Habib Yusufali

“The highlight of my week is leaving the office and playing golf," he said. “There are very few people who are blessed to have the opportunity to play with their father and grandfather. It’s incredibly rare and I consider myself very lucky.”

Over the years, the three have been members of clubs across the city including Emirates Golf Club, Al Badia Golf Club before it closed, and currently Dubai Hills Golf Club.

Habib, Muzaffar, and Shaneabbas regularly compete in local tournaments and are often invited to play in corporate golf days at the city’s many championship courses.

“I think we only appreciate how lucky we are to play here in Dubai when we play at other courses outside the country,” said Shaneabbas. “Dubai is golf heaven and we’re spoilt here.”

He said he’ll continue to cherish every moment he gets on the links with his father and grandfather.

“I make the most every opportunity I get to play golf with them, because I don’t know how long I’ll have that chance.”

Updated: April 27, 2024, 6:36 AM