Gowon unveils redesigned Nigeria’s oldest golf course, Rayfield 1913
• NGF names Lalong golf ambassador
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), at the weekend, in Jos, unveiled the new-look Rayfield 1913 Golf Course, Nigeria’s oldest golf facility, which is now all green.
At a ceremony that had some of the country’s biggest players in attendance, and excited Gowon expressed his delight that the country’s golf is progressing alongside its attendant benefits.
He commended Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, for his passion for redeveloping the Rayfield Golf Course, which is now comparable to any standard course in Nigeria.
Gowon said the influx of visitors and investors into the state would not have been possible without the restoration of peace, which Governor Lalong has worked hard to build over the years.
He called on Plateau State indigenes and other Nigerians to do everything possible to live with one another in peace and respect the sanctity of life at all times.
While commending the Nigerian Armed Forces for their gallantry in dealing with criminals across the country, Gowon said he was pained to see how a few people and groups have chosen to terrorise the citizens, calling on Nigerians to expose criminals and also support security agencies to deal with them.
Earlier, Lalong had commended Gowon for honouring the state’s call to unveil the redesigned golf course, explaining that Rayfield has a historic reputation that needs to be cherished and developed to drive the state’s sports economy.
The governor said his search for peace and security has gradually paid off with more people confidently coming into the state.
He also promised that his government would work on the Laminga Golf Course to make it green.
With speeches done, Gowon and Lalong, joined by Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu; Amanayabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff; HRH Agwam Atyap of Kaduna State and the club’s captain, later took symbolic shots to commemorate the event.
The governor also sponsored Hole 13, which was named after his mother, Tiopsan.
MEANWHILE, Governor Lalong has been named Nigeria’s first golf brand ambassador for his outstanding passion and commitment to the development of the game.
Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) President, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, conferred the honour on Lalong at the closing ceremony of the Pro/Am Golf Tournament, which followed the commissioning of the refurbished Rayfield Golf Course.
The one-week golf tournament, which started on March 7, was the first to be played on the Rayfield Golf course, which drew about 400 professional and amateur golfers from across the federation.
Runsewe said Lalong was honoured in appreciation of his sustained interest in supporting, projecting and promoting the game.
At the ceremony, Captain of Rayfield Golf Club, Air Commodore Lazarus Mshela, revealed that the club has witnessed tremendous transformation in the last seven years through the contributions of Lalong, who, he added, singlehandedly funded the construction of 18 putting greens, a dam, redesigning of the course and acquisition of more plots of land for the expansion of the golf course.
“This Pro/Am golf tournament, which is the first to be played on the redesigned course, is a memorable event. The turnout of dignatories, golfers and non-golfers alike, who have come to grace this great event, is an indication of your love for Nigeria’s oldest golf club.”
In their separate goodwill messages, the former governor of Kogi State, Capt. Idris Wada, and chairman, board of trustees of Rayfield Golf Club, Air Marshall Jonah Wuyep, praised Lalong for his immense contributions to sports development, which has boosted the tourism and economic potential of the state.
The one-week tournament climaxed with the presentation of prizes to winners in various categories. The prizes include deep freezers, washing machines, flat-screen television.
The first, second and third overall winners attracted the governor’s cash prizes of N2 million, N1 million N500,000 respectively.
The governor also paid tributes to some elder statesmen, including Generals Domkat Bali, John Shagaya and Joshua Dogonyaro for their great passion and motivation for the game.