On this day, the Emir of Dutse, His Royal Highness, Alhaji [Dr] Muhammed Nuhu Sanusi, will be 74. While presiding over the closing ceremony of the North West qualifying zone of the President Cup held at his Royal Dutse Golf Club in Dutse last weekend, the Emir lapsed into real emotions seeing seven of the local kids he groomed clinching direct tickets to the President Cup Pro-Am already slated for the IBB Golf Club in Abuja between January 31 and February 3. Only 10 golfers made such direct qualifications.
In a voice that betrayed all emotions, the Emir mentioned that when he was allowing such kids who could not really afford to play the game the opportunity to play, he already knew where their talents could lead them.
“When I was building the Royal Dutse course, I knew I must give opportunities to vulnerable kids who want to play the game”, the Emir said. “You know in Nigeria where you don’t have a public course, a kid can only have access if his father is a member of a golf club. But how many people can afford this. So while building this course I have such kids in mind and from the very beginning I allowed them in without any hinderance whatsoever. But see what is happening. In a field that consists of big golfers from Kaduna and Kano, my little boys here could clinch seven out of 10 direct tickets available. I saw this day. I knew this could happen. I am fulfilled. But I need to take things a notch higher. All I want to do now is to create a Golf Academy where these kids will go to school and learn how to play golf. I am doing this immediately. But for those who just excelled I will ensure they take their game to an international level. I am really proud that the boys can make Jigawa such a great state”.
But this could be an irony of life. The Emir of Dutse from the onset did not really come out to build a golf course. He just loves the game with such great passion that he could leave his Emirate for such far places like Kaduna and Jos just to have a round of golf. This he was doing effortlessly considering the stress he had to undergo plying rough roads for hours.
Then something strange happened one day when he was having a round of golf at the Kaduna Golf Club. Like something he picked up at the United States when the weather is intensively hot, he would enter the course without tucking in his golf shirt. This happened and a Committee member of the Club who sighted him asked that he should be withdrawn. All hushed talks that this was an Emir fell on deaf ears. The Emir graciously left the course.
“That the brought so many meanings to my life”, the Emir recalled. “It was on that day I made up my mind that I would build my own golf course. You know what I told myself? I told myself that let me see the fellow who will pull me off my own course if I don’t feel like tucking in my shirt during a game. But that is history. I don’t hold it against anyone at the Kaduna Golf Club. I love the Kaduna course and I always look forward to play it”.
All said and done, the Emir did not just build a golf course but he placed on ground what today is the largest and most challenging course in Nigeria. In most courses, you see holes being played in a criss-cross. Here you don’t see the same hole until you have accomplished your 18-hole game. Yet the fairways are so wide you can belt your tee shot to whatever direction. But try not to stay out of the fairways. If you do, your frustrations are just starting. Even the best of the professionals can’t promise that they could card under-Par here. You could hate the many water hazards that could cost you shots but truth is the putting Greens here play like a dream. At once, you could be having this dream of being in the home of the Masters, that is the Augusta National in Georgia. And yes, the Clubhouse is one architectural wonder. But what do you expect from the Emir who is an accomplished Architect.
Let me throw you a freebie. Once I got so moved I asked the Emir how much he placed on the table to get that course that is covered with enervating luxuries. I already had in mind that the lavish Smokin Hills course belonging to Chief Michael Ade-Ojo gulped a stunning 17 million dollars.
Know what the Emir told me? Hear him… “Tony if I tell you how much that course gulped, maybe I wouldn’t have built it”. You can now do your maths.
Happy birthday Your Highness.