Founded in 1923 under the name “Nadi El Golf El Loubnani, Beirut Sporting Club”, the Club was originally located in Bir Hassan, by the old airport, and consisted of sand fairways and greens. It started with a 1,500 square meters of land on top of a hill, overlooking sand dunes and amidst a forest of pine trees planted by Ibrahim Pasha during the first half of the 19th century to protect Beirut from the ravages of sand storms.

Soon after, the Club grew to some 200 members, most of them non-Lebanese, and the committee engaged the services of an Egyptian pro, Ibrahim Youssef Ibrahim, known as “Baba Ibrahim” by everyone, to give golf lessons.

With the expansion of Beirut, owners of the dunes of Bir Hassan progressively reclaimed their properties until the Club shrank down to a small area of land surrounding the club house, a structure with a kitchen and two changing rooms. It became clear that the Club needed find a new home.

Original Club House

Salim Ali Salaam

Baba Ibrahim

In the late fifties, a new member joined the Club. Salim Ali Salaam, who would later go on to become the Chairman and President of MEA, the national air carrier, came to learn that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) owned some 200,000 square meters of sand dunes upon which steel aerials for the communications of the newly relocated airport had been built, and on which no construction was permitted.

He secured a deal with the Lebanese government and the CAA to grant the Club a long-term lease to develop a new golf course on this land, and plant the sand dunes with grass and trees, in the process protecting the installations of the Communications Center and the nearby new airport, which used to suffer great damage from the sand storms.

In 1963 the Club, now known as the “Golf Club of Lebanon” (GCL), with Salim Ali Salaam as its President, relocated to its present location, and a British golf architect was brought over from England to design a nine-hole golf course with alternative tees and greens. The first golf game on this new course was played in October 1965.

GCL c. 1960

GCL 2024

Between 1975 and 1990, much of Beirut was ravaged by the civil war, and the GCL suffered a great deal. In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon, and the Club’s grass fairways withered, many of its trees were uprooted, and its facilities extensively damaged or destroyed by the Israeli forces. Immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, reconstruction started and the Club came to life again.

The Club reopened soon after, and the golf course became green once more; the swimming pool was rebuilt, a new golf pavilion was constructed in place of the one destroyed, and its tennis courts repaired, all out of funds generated by its members.

In 1983, the Club acquired 200,000 square meters of adjacent land and developed nine new golf holes to become an official eighteen-hole golf course.

Salim Ali Salaam is also given credit for having founded the Arab Golf Federation in 1975 and the GCL hosted the inaugural Arab Golf Championship that same year, and which is now played annually in different Arab countries. The Club has a rich history of hosting many major golf tournaments and players from the Club have represented Lebanon in many regional and international competitions.

Tee Off Inaugural Arab Golf Championship 1975

Past Presidents:

Mr. Salim Ali Salaam (Founder) 1963-1999
Mr. Nassib Boulos 1999-2000
Mr. Nizar Sultani 2000-2004
Mr. Jihad Husseini 2004-2013
Dr. Faisal Alameddine 2013-2016
Captain Riad Mikaoui 2016-2019