Hey. The Brits did achieve something in Iraq after all...

Golfing the Green Zone

The nine-hole Crossed Swords Golf Course is closed in by 15-foot concrete blast walls and watched over by humorless Gurkha guards from Nepal. Black Hawk helicopters buzzed overhead. Bursts of gunfire interrupted backswings. The threat of incoming rockets and mortars was ever present.

The course - a total of 479 rugged, dusty and nerve-fraying yards - was created a year ago by a British military officer who was part of a NATO training mission. Its name comes from one of Saddam Hussein's eccentric architectural legacies that's now a Green Zone landmark: two giant hands holding curved sabers that served as an archway for the late dictator's parade grounds.

The course "is the sole entertainment that we have here in Iraq," said Air Force Maj. Al Geralt of San Diego as he finished a round. He reported his score was somewhere between "abysmal and miserable." "But it's loads of fun," he said. "The NATO boys that came up with it - it is one of the best things they could have done for morale out here."