|Charamba to play all his life|
|Saturday, 04 August 2012 00:00|
At a tender age of three in 1985, his parents divorced and his father re-married and he was raised by a stepmother. His father died in 1999 and his mother two years later. “My father was a womaniser, I went from one step-mother to the other and I had my brothers and sisters to look up to,” he said.
For a man who never had proper parental guidance, to grow up into a fine gentleman and humble celebrity is a life achievement in itself besides emerging one of Zimbabwe’s top golfers.
Tongoona Charamba has made a name for himself on local golf emerging a force to reckon with in the Sunshine Tour.
He won 12 amateur tournaments, including the Zimbabwe Amateur Matchplay and Stokeplay Championships in 2002, and led the Zimbabwe Order of Merit from the year 2000 to 2002, before turning professional in 2003.
Charamba dreams of becoming the country’s next Nick Price.
“It is every professional golfer’s dream to play at the pinnacle of the game which is the European and the U.S tour. That is how far I want to go after playing in the Sunshine Tour,” said the 30-year-old golfer.
Nick Price was a professional Zimbabwean golfer who was ranked the world’s number 1 in August 1994.
It was a position he held for 43 consecutive weeks, a stretch that has only been challenged by Tiger Woods.
Just like the golfing legend, Price, who was introduced to the sport by his older brother Tim, Charamba whose brother Tapiwa was a caddy, taught him how to hold a club at the age of 13.
T.C, as his friends in the sport affectionately call him, scored a hole-in-one and came to believe golf was the easiest sport there was in the world.
He stopped playing soccer, where he had gone as far as being selected for the Under-17 national team, to mingle with gentlemen in what is considered one of the elite sports in the world.
“It (hole-in-one) made me think it was the easiest sport to play, but I have realised there are a lot of challenges golfers face. The sport demands a lot of dedication, because the time one puts into travelling alone is what makes others quit along the way,” he said.
“But what I love about it is unlike your football where after turning 30 one begins to prepare for his retirement and an end to his career, I can play golf for as long as I live. Because of that I wouldn’t trade my position as a pro (professional golfer).”
Charamba argues that golf is not an elite sport in Zimbabwe.
His background is testimony to this opinion.
He was not a spoiled son of a banker or lawyer, neither did he get to wear some colourful blazers at local elite schools such as St. John’s or Peterhouse College nor did he have a chauffeur to take him to school.
He was a son to a carpenter going to Tomlison Primary School and commuted across town to attend secondary school in low income surburb of Highfield before finishing his academic studies at Mount Pleasant School.
“That is just how complicated it was, I am glad of who I am. It has not been easy,” he smiled. “Golf is no longer an elite sport in Zimbabwe compared to other countries. The clubs subscription fees are reasonable.
“Of course, it only becomes expensive in buying clubs and it is at this stage (professional) that it becomes very much demanding. One needs to have the money to take him to the next level. That’s what slowing my progress to the top.”
Charamba became the third black golfer to win on the Sunshine Tour when he claimed the SAA Pro-Am Invitational in 2006.
Two years later, he won the MTC Namibia PGA Championship and finished a career best 27th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
Golf is a sport about accuracy using a club and ball played over 18 holes.
Golfers use different types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes for more points.
Unlike most sports where there is an umpire, judge or referee to record the progress of competitors and determine the winner; golfers get to mark each other’s progress and will agree on the winner.
Talk of honesty.
That honesty can only take a gentleman, are there no temptations to cheat in major tournaments with lucrative prices? It is really a gentlemen’s game. Of course they may be temptations of cheating, but it is the thought that one is cheating himself that we all know it is not worth it. Golf is a reflection of one’s life, the way a man handles himself in golf is how his life is.
“If one cheats at golf he will only be cheating life. Besides there are cameras especially in major tournaments and if one is later discovered to have cheated he will be made to forfeit the prize so the embarrassment is not even worth trying,” explained Charamba.