• Runsewe’s efforts thrill South Africa’s top trainer
Efforts to get Nigeria in the mainstream of the world’s golf was boosted at the weekend when some selected Nigerian professionals were taken through a week-long digital training for at the posh Golf Garden Waterfront Golf Club (GGWF) in Wuse, Abuja.
The event was organised by a patron of the club, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, who flew in one of South Africa’s top golf teachers, Mpoh Kelosiwaag as an instructor. It was the first golf training for Nigerian golf professionals since the late sage, Chief Anthony Enahoro, as an Information Minister in Chief during Obafemi Awolowo’s Western region, sent Nigeria’s first five golf professionals for training in London.
Mpoh, who is also an eminent member of the Botswana Professional Golf Association, said he was amazed at the hitech golf facilities at the Golf Garden, saying that apart from South Africa, no African nation could boast such facilities that are in tandem with modern day digital golfing.
“This is reason I make bold to say this man, Otunba Runsewe, is a blessing to your country,” said Mpoh.
“Ötunba had a dream years back and he is living it right now. I remember 10 years ago, he came to South Africa to search for a top golf teacher who could help impart modern golfing knowledge to Nigerian professionals. I never met him before but I was recommended to him. He invited me to Nigeria to see what he had on ground and those directions of his dreams.
“When I came around I met nothing but just this site of the Golf Garden. Then he told me about his dreams of bringing digital golfing facilities to Nigeria and then building a model golf facility that would be the envy of other African nations. I could imagine the type of resources and commitment that would be needed. I had my doubts. The project was tasking and I didn’t believe it could happen. And here I am now; I can see all he said he would do on ground. This is simply awesome and unbelievable.
“With these facilities on ground, it is now clear Nigerian pros would be opened to electronic golfing. If I add this to the golfing talents that abound in your country, I could see pros here moving towards golf world big stages in, say, another five years.”
Mpoh advised Nigeria to stop taking all funds to football, adding, “golf is the future and people are already seeing it. Even at the Olympics, the honour one man could bring you through golf would definitely surpass what a 26-man football team could get. Your country should start investing on golf since one man has blessed you with digital golfing facilities.”
After a fabulous ‘sent forth’ party for Mpoh, which wrapped up the weeklong Pro training, the Group Managing Director of the Golf Garden, Olori Adekunbi Runsewe, mentioned that with the founding of the digital golf facility by her husband, it was evident that Otunba Runsewe was totally committed to the development of the game of golf in Nigeria.
“Even though I am not playing the game yet, I am indeed delighted that my husband agreed that I studied Golf Management and Administration so I could bring the experience back to Golf Garden,” Olori Runsewe said.
“I am happy that I am here running things at the Garden. But I must tell you what is here is quite vast and so I still have to run to my husband most times for advice so I can run this place as smooth as I can.”
Otunba Runsewe, who is also the Director General of the National Council of Arts and Culture, revealed that it took him eight years to develop Golf Garden, adding that he predicted long ago that bye 2023, more than $4 billion would circulate around golf in Africa. This windfall, he said, made him decide to position Nigeria to be in prime position to gain from.
“This largesse would only go to nations that are prepared,” Runsewe said. “By preparation, I mean what we will have on ground before that time. Since the fund would revolve essentially around golf equipment, hotels and logistics, this is reason I am ensuring capacity building at the Golf Garden. I can tell you that before that time I must have created my own golf brand, the OSR brand, which will undertake manufacturing of golf equipment and golf apparels.
“I really want to create a healthy synergy, I mean digital golfing synergy, between our Pros and the ones in Europe and America. I have started with ten of our pros and I will take those ten to places across the world. I want us to really reap from goodies world golf would bring to Africa.”
Also speaking at the end of the event, Nigeria’s former number one golfer, Musa Ayuba, who took part in the training, disclosed that in his two decades of professional golfing, last week was the first time he would be exposed to digital training.
“I and other Pros, who were fortunate to be part of this training, are really grateful to Otunba Runsewe for building such digital golfing facility in Nigeria. This is what other African Pro golfers pay so much to be opened to in Europe and America. And we have it here. This is incredible. I only pray such facilities should placed across Nigerian States.
“We have big and passionate golfers like Otunba Runsewe in Nigeria. They should come and emulate him and do the needful,” Musa said.