There will never be a straight answer if the question comes up that the game of golf had a swell time in 2018. Truth is the game was served duff cards and thrown curved balls while that year lasted. Golf simply travelled through rough paths in 2018.
But ordinarily, save for greed from certain quarter, last year was meant to lift golf to a fresh level. Even though tournaments were coming in trickles, the Pro game enjoyed something close to a swell time. Each time drought set in, the Plateau Governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, was always there to prop things up with meaningful tourneys. However, the major undoing of the professional game had to do with the West African Golf (WAG) Tour which couldn’t chart the real path the professionals should follow.
Even at that it is indeed sad to watch the WAG Tour defining the mood of the Pro game. At once, a question will provoke any mind. What is really the duty of the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria [PGAN] if it cannot provide leadership for it’s close to 299 members? The bitter truth is PGAN is not just dormant but could go into extinction if care is not taken. It reads like idiocy beyond any description if you imagine how a body like PGAN could be enslaved by a mere WAG Tour.
But this is 2019. I see a mild revolution that could see the pro body rising in unison and confront, headlong, Emeka Okatta and his WAG Tour and once be bold to seek the rationale behind Okatta poaching through the rank and file of the Pro body to sustain a one-man Tour without breaking much of a sweat. Without the players, there won’t be a Tour in the first place. The players belong to PGAN. Why PGAN allow its players to be poached at will remains a mystery. Clearly I see them fighting this WAG virus to a standstill in the new year.
Even though issues surrounding the professionals already read like bad case, the amateur golf is not really in good stead. While tourneys usually come the way of amateur golf, some greedy club captains who have turned the golf course to ‘Traders Moni’ will never allow the inflow of tourneys to impact on the general development of the club and its members. This must happen when resources from tournaments usually end up in the bottomless pockets of captains. But in all honesty, not all captains are involved in this ‘kill and share’ spree after a tournament plays out. For instance, Umar Babangida, as Captain of the Royal Dutse Golf Club, is always working round the clock to ensure that the Dutse course remains crisp and most times, he is paying for such maintenance.
In the new year, I can see amateur golfers having a rethink when it is time to elect a new captain for any club. I can see members searching for captains who can give to the club rather than take away from it. A captain who can spread resources across for the general well being of the club and not one who will always listen to the ring of the cash register while bleeding the club’s account to death. There are indeed strong signals that golf could walk on roses this year.