By Sinikiwe Marodza
Zimbabwean golf hasn’t been a force to reckon with on the global calendar.
Harare municipality is making initiatives to revive Zimbabwean golf by imitating the Johannesburg Open golf tournament.
Dubbed Harare Open, the tournament is a brain child of the Harare municipality in association with the Zimbabwe Professional Golf Association (ZPGA), which recently embarked on a journey to revive golf in Zimbabwe.
After pumping out a total amount of $20 000 towards the tournament, Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said his municipality will not rest until Zimbabwean golf matches the South African standards.
“Johannesburg municipality initiated the Joburg Open tourney, which saw Pretoria coming up with their own version called Pretoria Open, which was then imitated by the Ekurhuleni Municipality (Tshwane Open).
“These tournaments have become a success and have taken South Africa into the global map when it comes to golf.
“Apart from the geographical locations of them being in South Africa, these three tournaments are actually European tournaments that attract the world’s best golfers and this Harare open will do the same in the near future. It is our wish to live in a Zimbabwe that breeds the world’s best golfers. If our neighbour South Africa has done it, we can do it too,” Manyenyeni said.
Despite having golfers like Tongoona Charamba and Marc Cayeux who have made it on the global scene, Zimbabwean golf hasn’t scored any successes in the recent past.
ZPGA president Gary Thompson blames lack of funding for the poor show that has been going on in the Zimbabwean golf.
“We haven’t been getting enough support off late, we do have enough talent but resources are the problem,” Thompson said.
Similar to most African countries, golf has been considered an elite sport in Zimbabwe and ZPGA is on a mission to familiarize the sport with every talented athlete regardless of their social background.
ZPGA will be sending the best Zimbabwean golfers to Europe for golf coaching courses so as to make sure the country has enough knowledge when it comes to the sport.
In a bid to make golf a sport for everyone the ZPGA has pledged to also introduce the junior policy which will see the association engaging school children and youths in golf tournaments.
“We have quite a good number of Zimbabwe’s best golfers whom we would like to send to Europe for coaching courses.
“It is our wish to witness our own people participating and making it to the global golf calendar, therefore it is a good thing to make sure that the country has enough coaches who will carry the responsibility of building excellent golfers.
“It is our wish to live in a Zimbabwe that considers golf a sport for everyone not a sport that is meant for a specific social group.
“We will therefore embark on a journey to introduce golf in all schools around the country, because we want to engage every talented kid despite their social backgrounds,” Thompson said.