The Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open 2013 edition has come and gone, but once again South African golfers reigned supreme over our own, with Jack Roos winning the R 1, 65 million tourney.
Report by Brian Nkiwane
The tournament was played at Royal Harare Golf Club.
The win confirmed South Africa’s dominance of the event which was first played in 1984 and later re-launched in 2010 after disappearing from the radar for nine years.
While many golf followers feel that Zimbabwe did not impress during the event, Zim Open tournament director Mike Mahachi thinks otherwise.
“I think we are improving each year. I can tell you that in 2011 we only had four golfers who made the cut, it was not so good back then. In 2012 the number increased to seven and this time around we had nine golfers that made it. This tells you a lot about our performance,” Mahachi said.
Mahachi emphasised the need for local golfers to improve on their world rankings.
“Golf is different from other sporting disciplines, for example football where you have a chance to score a lucky winning goal. However, in golf you have to be good to improve on your rankings as an individual and I can confirm most of our golfers have improved on their rankings.”
“We had amateurs Ben Follet-Smith, Sean Crocker and Clive Nguru who played well. Some of them are plying their trades in better countries, so if they come down here, they help us improve the quality of the game because the amateur leagues they play in America are better than amateur leagues down here. They have the pedigree to compete with these South African golfers,” he said.
Crocker was presented with the best amateur trophy.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Golfers Association president Aiden Mhere has said a number of things need urgent attention if golfers are to improve.
Speaking from his base in South Africa, Mhere said the sport has to be accessible to all people.
“This means transforming and rebranding golf from its archaic image of an elitist and exclusive sport, to an inclusive sport open to all with the passion and talent. To this end, the Zimbabwe Golf Association is finalising a national golf development framework to promote the sport throughout the country — in rural and urban schools, colleges and universities,” Mhere said
Mhere said the development agenda entails availing the procurement and distribution of golf equipment and training facilities with special focus on junior talent, rehabilitating golf infrastructure across the country and increasing access to these facilities to general members of the public.
LEADERSHIP HAILS SPONSORS
Zimbabwe Golfers Association president hailed the contribution by sponsors.
“The contribution made by Delta Beverages (through the Golden Pilsener brand), Zimplats, Triangle Ltd/Hippo Valley Estates Ltd, Jaguar South Africa, First Banking Corporation and South African Airways and other partners is highly appreciated. The event itself was a huge success thanks to the vision and leadership of the ZGA Executive (current and past), the Zimbabwe Open Committee and the painstaking attention to administrative detail demonstrated by the organisers on the ground.
He also revealed that the ZGA executive will be initiating a process for setting up the Zimbabwe Golf Development Foundation, in conjunction with the Zambezi Tour and the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union.