At 50, PGAN rolls out red carpets for outstanding golfers
Charts new path to development
It was an occasion aimed at celebrating all that has been good to Nigerian golf. But it also gave stakeholders opportunity to reminisce on the good old day and chart a new path for golf development.
The celebrants came from across the country to converge on the Golfview Hotel, Ikeja GRA, Lagos to answer the clarion call by one of the most important sports in Nigeria, honour seven people, who contributed immensely to game we have today, as well as relive old times.
Organised by the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria (PGAN) in partnership with Seven Sports International Network Limited, the PGAN Hall of Fame Induction of Peter Akakasiaka, Lateef Lasisi, Patrick Okpomu, Andrew Oche Odoh, Festus Makelemi, Dr. Jeffrey Uduimo and Samson Lawal gave stakeholders an insight into the new experience awaiting players and other stakeholders in the game.
Explaining the new thinking among Nigerian golf stakeholders and the partnership his firm has with the PGAN, Chairman of Seven Sports International Nigeria, Daisy Olotu, said the current state of the sport called for a change in the way things are done in Nigeria.
He said: “A few years back, when I started playing golf, I saw a wide gap between what we had here and what obtained in Europe and America.”
According to him, “in Nigeria, you cannot even compare our professionals with the amateurs abroad, that is why we have come up with a programme that will lift the game and ensure we have a turn around of everything and put them where they are supposed to be. This will produce real golf professionals.”
He added that apart from recognising those that played key roles in the history of Nigerian golf, the new partnership would ensure that golfers get their due recognition in the society.
“The inductees into the hall of fame are happy with the award, but they are not happy with the state of the game. So, we want to ensure that the players are happy with the prize money they get and the all round development of the game.
“We want a situation when we say we are having a PGAN anniversary tournament next year, many of them will come.”
One aspect of the PGAN at 50 celebrations that has stoked stakeholders’ enthusiasm is the promise by the partnership of at least two championships every month beginning with the anniversary championship.
“As we speak, a lot of people have registered for this competition. We want to start from here and then unveil so many things that will make the game of golf very interesting.
“I urge all corporate organisations in Nigeria to sponsor golf as part of their CSR.
“We have three events coming up soon, two in Akwa Ibom and one at a yet to be decided venue. Anybody interested in participating in these competitions should go to www.sevensportsinternanal.com and pay a token fee to register.”
Also speaking on the new thinking in the association, PGAN Director, Samson Lawal, said, “to commemorate this occasion, we have an all inclusive programme that will further strengthen our association and give our players more championships to look forward to.
“We will also be unveiling our sponsors; you know it is serious business when three state governments are in partnership with our formidable Seventh Sports Organisations.”
Director at Seventh Sports, Remi Johnson, said Seventh Sports International and PGAN would celebrate golf icons yearly because “we believe it would help us to assess ourselves and how we have fared in the previous year, and by so doing we could have our projection for the coming year.
“We would have monthly medals, so as to ensure that there is regular tournaments for members of PGAN.
“Seventh Sports is committed towards ensuring that we continue to build a PGAN that we can be proud of.
“To achieve this, we are bring all our partners with us because we are in it for the long haul. ”
The association’s Secretary, Jide Bolaji, added that PGAN tours would also be revived before the end of 2019.
“We are working earnestly to ensure that we revive the PGAN tours, which is known to be one of the most prestigious tours in West Africa.
“We want to keep our golfers busy so that in the near future, we can have world beaters like the Tiger Woods of this world,” he said.
Bolaji disclosed that the association would hold three championships as part of the celebrations, adding that one of such events is billed for the Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo from August 19 to 25, 2019.
He added: “We are working to ensure that we have at least two championships every month going forward. This is because we believe the players can only get better when they have enough competitions to test their skills.
“On the grand finale of the 50th anniversary celebration scheduled for August 19 to 25, not less than 185 golf pros, including Nigerians and their counterparts from different parts of the continent of Africa, will be competing for whooping high prize money.
“The door is still open for any corporate or individual body that wishes to identify with PGA Nigeria @ 50.”