NGF chief, Ojomo, deplores lack of standard golf courses in Nigeria
He also poured encomiums on telecommunications giant and title sponsor of the championship in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, for what he termed bringing “us into contact with real golf.” Speaking against the backdrop of the development of the game in Spain, he said, “you only need to experience it to know what I’m talking about.
“The only courses that are close to being standard courses in the country at all are the Ibom Golf Course in Akwa Ibom State, which hosted the MTN-WGC national finals in 2007, and of course, the IBB Golf and Country Club Course that hosted the 2009 edition of the WGC. The truth is that we still have a long way to go.
“When we went to Turkey, we played in four different courses within 30 minutes drive from our hotel. And in Spain, we played on four different courses within a range of 25 minutes drive from our hotel. The beauty of the whole thing is that MTN has brought us into contact with real golf.”
On whether he thinks MTN’s contribution enough to grow the game in the country, he said a lot of grounds could be covered if the firm incorporates youths into its sponsored programmes. According to him, “MTN has done well. But like the Oliver Twist in all of us, we can only ask MTN to do more by incorporating youths into their golf programme, because it will definitely yield fruit in due course.
“I believe that every experience is useful. As a member of the board of the NGF, I came back with lot of lessons. I have learnt what Spain is doing to grow golf and attract youths to golf. In Marbella, I saw up to four golf academies. I don’t know if that is all they have.
“Most of the golf courses I talked about have golf academies and those academies are busy. We even saw a documentary on how golf started in a humble way in Spain. We have taken that back home to see how we can adopt such method.”
Ojomo and his partner, Femi Feyide, excelled in their event and were called out for recognition, which he said, was a joyous moment. He added: “Sometimes, what you feel is really difficult to express. This is a tournament where all the participating countries had their flags hoisted. Whether you like it or not, anywhere you go internationally and see Nigeria’s flag being hoisted because of you, you can’t just express the feeling.
“We were called as winners, we were not only proud as Nigerians, we were proud that all our efforts have paid off. I cannot thank MTN enough for the way they it supported golf. I just wish MTN would be given due recognition for the role it is playing in golf development.