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Sports: NGF President promises to rejuvenate golf in Nigeria



Olusegun Runsewe, the President of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) has promised to rejuvenate the game of golf in the country.

Runsewe spoke with our reporter on the sidelines of the 1st Nigeria Golf Federation Summit for Captains with delegates from over 70 clubs across the country.

The three-day summit, which was declared open by Simon Lalong, the Governor of Plateau, also had as Guest of honour, Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development.

The NGF president told our reporter that he was working assiduously to ensure that the game of golf wears a new look in the country.

“Let me first and foremost thank the two great personalities for honoring our invitation to come for this very important summit.

“Both of them being here today is a very big statement and most especially their commitment to give us the much needed support which will take our Federation to the top is a moral booster.

“Golf indeed is a great game but most people have not come to understand fully what it is all about.

“So, today is a testament of the fact that golf has the support and followership of both the government and private sector as well the good people of Nigeria.

“For me, I feel fulfilled and extremely happy that this summit has gone so well and look forward to Nigeria building on it,” he said.

He noted that the game of golf was a big business, adding that other countries made a lot of money from it but it was unfortunate that it was being looked at as leisure in Nigeria.

He added that one of the purposes of the summit was to create an opportunity for golfers in the country to network and acquaint themselves with the process of the World Handicap System (WHS).

He explained that the WHS is a universal ranking software which could be accessed by players globally.

It was also reported that the WHS is initiated by the Runsewe led Board in partnership with the Royal and Ancient (R&A) and when it is finalised, is expected to ease the development of golf in the country.

“Golf is beyond leisure. It’s a big business.

“Do you know that if they don’t play golf in Dubai for three days, it will affect their economy?

“Over 260 pros live on training, which is what I am trying to introduce here. Academic golf, getting the youth immediately now because you can’t start playing golf at an old age.

“The WHS which we are also trying to introduce, of course, is going to be a huge success for Nigeria.

“We will key into the WHS, which we are almost there and we will also build golf academies in all the state of the federation,” he said.

He expressed joy that alot of sponsors had already started to indicate interest in the development of the game in the country, adding that the summit would be sustained and organized yearly.

He stressed that the NGF would utilise the event in galvernising the support base of the golf clubs’ Captains to be optimally involved in grassroots development of the sport.

“Anything I do, I usually don’t do it small. I do it big and when I start by the grace of God with his divine intervention, I will sustain it because the sincerity of purpose is there.

“You can see that al of sponsors are now asking how they can key in.

“You cannot blame the sponsors because they are not sure of what you have on the table.

“But now the sponsors can see a serious and genuine project and to cap it up, the minister of sports and the governor of Plateau State are all here to endorse it,” he said.

He also thanked all the captains from over 70 clubs across the country participating in the summit, stressing that the event would chart a new direction for the development of golf in the country.

“They (the captains/delegates) all came in good spirit and ready for us to change the narrative and the history of golf in Nigeria.

“You can see the competitive spirit between them, which is the beauty of the game and by the grace of God next year will even be much bigger than this.

“I promise you that the game of golf is going to wear a new look going forward in the country, starting from today,” he said.

The maiden summit, which began on Wednesday, is expected to end on Friday.

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Victor Okoye

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