BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
HIS initial plan was for his sports loving children to play tennis but, Tawanda Nyamukondiwa was convinced by the legendary Wingate Golf Club golf coach Lewis Muridzo to introduce Tafadzwa and Margaret to golf.
Now he is reaping the benefits of heeding Muridzo’s advice due to his children’s success on the local golf scene.
Nyamukondiwa, who is now a committee member in the Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association (ZJGA), is a delighted man after his daughter Margaret clinched the National Aids Council-sponsored Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union (ZLGU) Open Strokeplay Championship at Royal Harare last week.
Margaret scored identical scores of 77 in the opening two rounds before closing with a 76 in the final round to finish in a tie at the top of the leaderboard with the pre-tournament favourite Danielle Bekker.
The 18-year-old went on to win the playoff to claim the biggest win of her fledgling golf career.
Nyamukondiwa’s eldest son Tafadzwa (21) who is on a scholarship at the University of Drexel in the United States is also one of the top upcoming players in the country having won the Mashonaland West Golf Union (Mawegu) Amateur Championship in June.
After their introduction to the sport by the well-respected Muridzo at Wingate Golf Club about a decade ago, Tafadzwa and Margaret also passed through the hands of another veteran coach Rodger Baylis at Chapman Golf Club, where they are now members.
Seasoned sports administrator Themba Sibanda has also been working closely with Margaret on her game and was on her bag during her impressive win last Sunday.
And Nyamukondiwa is a delighted man as Margaret’s success last weekend continues to justify his decision to encourage them to take up golf.
“I am very happy with Margret’s achievement. This is an indication of how her game has improved and has reached a level of consistency which she didn’t have before. It means the coach Temba Sibanda has struck the right chord with her,” he said.
However, Margret’s win at ZLGU Open came as a surprise to her father.
“I was surprised that she won because I didn’t expect her to win it this year considering that she was focusing more on her studies. And also that she could not practise because of the lockdown, but she managed to beat Danielle Bekker who has been competing in South Africa,” Nyamukondiwa said.
Looking back, Nyamukondiwa is pleased at how both his children have grown in the sport and are doing well in golf.
“Tafadzwa won the Mawegu Amateur tournament when he came back from the US a few months ago. He would have wanted to play more tournaments but it was not possible because of the lockdown.
“I thank God for giving me the wisdom to ensure I give them the platform to follow their dreams.
“I don’t believe finances are the biggest challenge when you have children who play golf. It is the commitment because I had to be involved in their golf every single day to this stage,” said Nyamukondiwa.
Margaret, a student at The Heritage School, said her brother’s success had motivated her to become better.
“The fact that my brother is in the US on a scholarship because of golf pushes me to become better than him. I am happy with the win. At first it didn’t really sink in that I had won, but I am very excited,” Margaret said after winning the country’s premier ladies golf tournament.
Now not even the sky is the limit for the Nyamukondiwa siblings, with Margaret well-poised to follow in her brother’s spike marks by taking her talents to the United States.