In the spirit of catching them young, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation has initiated a comprehensive program aimed at developing future Olympic Golfers for Nigeria. The initiative was set in motion when the NTDC in collaboration with the IBB International Golf and Country Club organized a children’s golf tournament in Abuja as part of activities marking this year’s Children’s Day celebration which held May 27th the world over.
According to the Director-General of NTDC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the essence of the initiative is to expose the young to professional golfing while tapping into the huge financial resources available in the game citing countries like South Africa that make millions of dollars annually from golf alone.
Fielding questions from journalists just before tee off, the DG maintained that Golf is a professional game that can only be learnt by adhering to the procedural technicalities of the game observing that in other climes, children start learning golf from a tender age noting that this accounts for the high number of professional Golfers that abound in advanced countries.
Speaking further, Runsewe said, “As a people, we must realize that golf is a big business all over the world and you can never get golf right except you start from age three. That’s the standard and other countries of the world are now making major returns from golf alone as a sport.”
“During the last world cup in South Africa, 50 percent of supporters played golf after every match because golf is a total game of connection and so we believe that we must start now to expose our youths to understanding the game of golf”, he added.
Otunba Runsewe revealed that the NTDC plans to introduce the game of golf in 2 schools across each geopolitical zone in Nigeria with the aim of teaching the game from its rudiments while debunking the claim that golf is an elitist sport.
In his words, “There is this wrong notion that golf is meant for the rich, no. Today the biggest Golfer in the Caribbean is the son of a tailor and the return to the Caribbean market today is massive. Tiger Woods is also an example who was virtually nobody but today has turned golf to something else and so we want to start discovering our own Tiger Woods in Nigeria by promoting golf among the youths”
During the presentation of trophies to some of the young golfers, Runsewe admonished parents to always look out for their wards at all times declaring that he has consistently aligned with the youths because they are the leaders of tomorrow.
Commenting during the event, the lady captain of the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Mrs. Anne Addeh expressed her gratitude to the NTDC for sponsoring the event noting that, “we are doing it for our children because we want them to take golf as a very important part of their lives you know golf is a game of life and golf is a game that prepares you for life, it builds character and discipline. We are also hoping to get more children to be interested in sports because our goal in IBB golf club is to prepare children that will represent Nigeria in the Olympics”
The celebration was attended by young children from all spheres of life alongside other personalities like Nigeria’s first female pro, Uloma Mbuko and the representative of Kogi State first Lady, Captain Halima Wada amongst others.