IT was a momentous occasion on Thursday evening as the Zimbabwe golf fraternity came together for the inaugural 2013 Zimbabwe Golf Awards at Chapman Golf Club.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
While it was difficult to begrudge the winners on the night, one cannot help but feel that the adjudicating committee was a bit “generous” as they tried to appease everybody they believed deserved special mention.
As a result, there were justifiably six Lifetime Achievement awards for iconic individuals namely Rodger Baylis, Tesa Covell, John Kelly, Steve Matondo, Tim Price and Anderson Rusike.
The trio of Brendon de Jonge, Tony Johnstone and Nick Price received recognition in the International Golf Ambassador award 2013 while there were also multiple winners in the Corporate Recognition as well as the Golf Achievement categories.
Undoubtedly, the awards will have a positive influence on the Zimbabwe golf landscape.
One of the unsung heroes of local golf and legendary coach Rodger Baylis shared his sentiments with Standardsport.
“I think here in Zimbabwe we are lucky to have people who would and can sacrifice a lot to the sport without needing any recognition or an award in return, which is why golf has done extremely well over the years without this kind of recognition,” explained the Zimbabwe Golf team coach.
“However, these awards will go a long way in stimulating a lot of interest in the sport’s competitiveness at every level. We have always needed the government of Zimbabwe to be involved and as you can see, the Honourable Deputy Minister Thabeta Kanengoni-Malinga was here,” he added.
Baylis also took time to draw parallels between Zimbabwean and South African golf.
“Look, it’s just a game of numbers, that is where the difference is, for every one golfer we have, South Africa has 60. We have fantastic golfers in this country and remember Scott Vincent went to South Africa and beat them in their backyard countless times, we are definitely on the right track,” he said.
Ryan Cairns won the Male Professional Golfer of the year accolade alongside Roda Muridzo who was the best Female Professional.
United States-based Scott Vincent was voted the best Amateur golfer while Yollander Mubaiwa scooped the ladies version.
There were also awards for Stuart Krog, Thembelani Mvundhla, young Margaret Nyamukondiwa and Daniele Bekker, among others.
In the media, NewsDay’s Daniel Nhakaniso emerged the best golf reporter in 2013.