Golf has been dragged into Turkmenistan’s ban on the import of gas-guzzling cars.
The gas-rich Central Asian state has extended crackdown on the rising cost of maintaining low retail fuel prices and restrictions on people’s freedom of movement in the fight against a new wave of Covid-19.
According to a copy of the latest ban made available to the independent internet outlet turkmen.news, cars from German manufacturers such as Mercedes and BMW, as well as several popular sports utility vehicles and minivans from Volkswagen, can no longer be sold on imported goods.
Large General Motors vehicles in the United States and Japan’s Toyota were also banned.
The authorities had already banned residents from owning and driving cars with a displacement of more than 3.5 liters.
The updated list even includes all-electric vehicles like the Tesla Model X and – bizarre – the Club Car Villager 4, a four-seat buggy often seen in golf resorts around the world.
As with fuel, electricity costs are heavily subsidized by the government. Otherwise, the reasons for the golf buggy edict are not immediately clear.
What’s even more fascinating is that Turkmenistan gives tourists access to a single golf course near the capital, Ashgabat.
It was inaugurated in 2017 by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. “Despite windy conditions, the leader of the nation hit a hole from a height of 75 meters,” said state television.
Witnesses report that the square has remained largely deserted since then and was used by Berdymukhamedov for activities ranging from horse riding to throwing daggers to singing rap songs with his grandchildren.