‘The race to reposition Nigerian golf is on’
Golf stakeholders believe that the sport is more than just a game. To the avid golf player, there is nothing better being in a good golf course, withy big time players and rewarding competitions.Connoisseurs of the sports also believe that it can effectively drive the tourism industry in Nigeria if things were put in order.
This, the Professional Golfers’ Association of Nigeria (PGAN), want to do because they see the bigger picture.A few months ago, marketing and communications company, Seventh Sports International Network, entered into an agreement with the PGA of Nigeria with a view to taking the sport to the next level.Part of the deal is to raise golf’s profile and give it the opportunity to reinvent itself and also become more profitable for the stakeholders.
Speaking during the recent PGAs of Europe tour of Nigeria, Seventh Sports’ Director, Daisi Olotu said the country had a big gap in its golf development to fill, adding there was an urgent need to put all necessary infrastructure in place.He said, “Seventh Sports is partnering with the PGAN to fill the gap we have discovered as experts in the business of sports marketing; the PGAN that I can see at present is not what it ought to be – it deserves more than what it is now.”
Olotu believes Nigeria’s professional golf would only improve if certain things were put in place. “In the first place, the PGAN has no befitting secretariat. The members’ welfare also needs to improve in line with the global standard.“Also, we have to look at the quality of tournaments played annually; the content and participation; these and among others is where we are coming in to fill the gap.”
Another outfit entrenched in the quest to reposition Nigerian golf is Zenera Consulting. It has started a move to sale golf’s economic potential to Nigerians.Speaking on the plans to build the game, Zenera Consulting’s Managing Partner, Meka Olowola, said there is an interesting positive movement in golf globally, adding that the return of Tiger Woods to the top with victory at the August Masters in April has ushered in a new verve to the game.
Olowola was among the stakeholders, who met with PGAs of Europe Director of Development, Martin Westphal, at the weekend on ways to repositions the game in the country.He Zenera and other stakeholders want to leverage on the experience shared by the PGAs of Europe to rebrand the PGA of Nigeria, adding that a committee is already working out the programme.
“The state of golf in Nigeria belies not just its potential, but also the reputation it used to have in the past. “If you look at the calibre of amateur games; the individuals who play in the various amateur clubs in Nigeria, the frequency within which some of the clubs played, especially Ikoyi Club, which features an average of 200 people in an event (the most played course in the world) and then you juxtapose that with the quality of the PGAN and the positioning of the PGAN, you know that there’s a significant gap and that there is much work to be done.”
He lamented that in its recent history, Nigeria had a lot of beautiful clubs, “where we used to have very interesting competitions, including the Lagos Open, which Vijay Singh came here to play in; we had Peter Akakasiaka, the only Nigerian who went to play in the British Open.
“We need to go back to those days and this is the time to hit the iron on the head as it is hot, because there is a renewed interest in golf beginning with Tiger Woods following his strong come-back, winning the Masters Open.”Olowola believes Nigeria ride on the fresh wave of enthusiasm to resuscitate the game to revitalise, re-restructure and re-engineer the PGAN. He added: “That is what Zenera has come to do. We are speaking with the PGAN to be able to dimension a brand strategy that will get us to the desired future.”