Turkmenistan’s dictatorial president has already turned his hand to DJing, weights training, writing books and equestrianism, and can now add top-level golfing ability to his enviable skills – at least according to state television.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, subject of one of the world’s most bloated personality cults, engaged the golfing legend Jack Nicklaus to build a golf course outside the capital city, Ashgabat.
In footage aired on the state TV channel Altyn Asyr and published by Radio Liberty, a voiceover claimed that at the opening of the course last week, “our nation’s leader hit the hole from 75 metres [246ft]”, despite windy conditions.
There was little video evidence to back up the hole-in-one claim, other than footage of a weak and seemingly wayward drive from Berdymukhamedov. The camera panned conveniently away from the ball to the president grinning and lapping up the applause from an assembled crowd of diplomats and civil servants. Nicklaus was on hand to congratulate the president personally.