Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
GOLF should be taken as a sport tourist attraction, said Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane after he met all golf associations at a briefing held at Royal Harare yesterday.
The tour is part of Hlongwane’s ongoing familiarisation meetings with various national sport associations.
During yesterday’s briefings, Hlongwane managed to meet the leaderships of the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA), Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association (ZPGA), Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Association (ZLGA) and Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association (ZJGA).
Hlongwane said he feels that the Zimbabwe Open, being the flagship of national golf, should have a sound sponsorship which can attract top players from around the globe.
“We are happy that we have the flagship event, the Zimbabwe Open, which will come in two months time but we expect more corporates to come on board so as to make the event even much bigger.
“The event can be used as part of sport tourism as it attracts people from all over the globe. We are happy that they have a sponsor in Delta but we also call on other corporates to come on board to see the event returns to its stature,” said Hlongwane.
The minister also gave his thumbs up to the idea that all the golf associations come under one umbrella body that will have an executive committee to foresee running of the programmes.
“It is important that we have a sound junior policy and I would like to recommend Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche, who has been working hard to spread golf to rural areas.
“I will take it to the local authorities to see if we can resuscitate all the golf clubs which are lying idle.
“We are grateful that the sport once regarded as for the elite is slowly getting a following from people from all walks of life.
“It is through junior golf development that we can be able to produce players like former World number one Nick Price, Mark McNaulty, Brendon de Jonge and Bruce McDonald among others who have managed to play at the highest level.
“We can only achieve this by lobbying for the preservation for sports structures as it is the springboard for any sport.
“It is important that the sport is also availed to the public sector which has managed to offer a large number of athletes for the international stage,” said Hlongwane.
The minister will next week meet the Zimbabwe Open organising committee headed by Michael Mahachi.
Meanwhile, a total of four top amateurs are taking part in this year’s African amateur strokeplay Championship at the Leopard Creek in South Africa.
The quintet of Kieren Vincent, David Amm, John Milanzi and Tafara Mpofu had the opportunity to represent the country at the high profile tournament.