Nigeria’s Ayinde Sanni on the top of his swing at the recent MTN World Golfers Championship in Durban, South Africa
Olawale Ajimotokan, who covered two MTN World Golfers Championships in Thailand and South Africa, revisits the top spots visited by Nigerian business executives since Nigeria made its first appearance in the amateur franchise in 2005
Antalya, Turkey 2005
The 11th annual World Golfers Championship and Invitational marked the first time a contingent of Nigerian business golfers in the flight and invitational events would be appearing in the tournament staged in Gloria Golf Resort on the Turkish Mediterranean in Antalya.
The 2005 highlight was the flag ceremony as each participating country was announced in alphabetical order, giving the event a true Olympic feeling. The last evening in Antalya was spent in celebration good Turkish entertainment and many prizes provided by the renowned glass makers- Orrefors and Kosta Boda.
The 72-hole tournament was played on four golf courses. Gloria Golf Resort afforded the contingent some great time to relax on the Mediterranean in addition to some great golf.
The second course was the Michel Gayon designed Gloria OId course to suit Mediterranean climate and impress the most demanding golfer.
Gloria New Course with its undulated tree lined park course left a memory in form of its great holes, four big lakes and 67 bunkers which played great role on any of the holes.
The National, designed by David Feherty through a forest of eucalyptus and pine trees provided an abundance of natural lakes overlooking the snow capped Taurus Mountain.
Wild Coast Sun, East Cape, South Africa, 2006
The Wild Coast Sun in the Eastern Cape of South Africa hosted a min inspection championship. This globally acclaimed destination with awe-inspiring landscapes, pristine natural habitats and one of the most challenging golf courses in the world was the perfect setting.
The Wild Coast Sun Hotel, just south of Port Edward, occupies one of the most dramatic stretches of the coast line of South Africa’s golf coast. It is famous for its abundance of choices for visitors such as gambling, squash, tennis, two theatres with world class entertainment and of course, golf, just to name a few.
Wild Sun Coast Country Club truly offers a memorable experience with its ocean front location, high tees and rich greens where the elements come into play. This wonderful course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and was during the championship ranked seventh in South Africa.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2007
The 13th Annual events were staged in the tropical golf paradises of Glenmarie, Templer Park and Tropicana in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The tournament put Malaysia under focus for its multiculturalism and amazing number of colourful festivals.
The Glenmarie Golf and Country Club has two 18-hole golf courses which are both contrasting in style and landscapes. The Garden Course has a rich variety of flora and fauna and lakes in tropical garden setting. The valley is narrow but open and offers breathtaking views consisting of many species of pine trees.
Tropicana Golf and Country Resort consists a 27-hole championship golf course, known to be among the best in Malaysia. Two challenging dream courses complete with rolling slopes and sweeping valleys, each designed to USGA specifications.
Templer Park Country Club is set in the midst of a natural sanctuary, surrounded by virgin forest with the famous Bukit Takum limestone hill rising majestically to the left with breath taking sight of many lakes making it one of the dramatic and scenic golf courses in Malaysia.
Mission Inn, Orlando, USA, 2008
The tournament returned to eastern coast of the United States, for the first time since year 2000, with golfers’ haven, Mission Inn Resort and Club and Deer Island Country Club in Orlando getting the nod.
The course, in the heart of central Florida, is a true resort destination in the spectacular and rolling country side to the northwest of Orlando.
The 36-hole Mission Inn is touched by history and blessed with natural beauty and distinguished by enduring traditions of excellence, hospitality, distinctive Spanish architecture and award winning recreation.
El Campion is revered as one of Florida’s finest. Designed by Charles E. Clarke, the course which opened in 1926 is ranked in the top 10 of Florida’s 1,400 plus courses.
Las Colinas was designed by former PGA Tour Gary Koch, while Deer Island Country Club, just 45 minutes from Orlando offers a challenging championship design on a 400 acre island surrounded by Lake Beauclaire and Lake Dora.
Marbella, Spain, 2009
The party moved to Marbella, the European capital of sports with lasting memories in 2009.
Marbella, one of Costa del Sol’s major tourist centres is a paradise and home for golf lovers and the home of magnificent golf course amid the backdrop provided by the sea and the mountains. Surrounded by 26- Km of sun-drenched beaches, Marbella houses modern hotels, residential complexes, shops and restaurants.
The tournament was played at the prestigious Marbella Club Golf Resort, Rio Real, Santa Clara and Flamengos Golf Club.
Marbella Resort has beautiful waterfalls, lakes and protected greens, while Rio Real is a magnificent course set in a slopping valley, offering challenging greens and spectacular views of the Mediterranean.
Santa Clara was designed with utmost respect for indigenous wildlife and vegetation, providing a fantastic meeting place for good enthusiasts.
Flamengos Golf Club is characterized by its carefully conserved landscaping, with a large variety of trees and beautiful views of the sea. The greens are generously sized while the fairways are somewhat narrower on the front nine, where more precision is required than on the back nine.
Hua Hin, Thailand, 2010
Hua Hin which boasts of a 5-mile long beach and highest density of golf courses anywhere in Thailand graciously hosted the 16th WGC and offered some of its best golf layouts for the tournament. Most of the off the course activities were held at the Holiday Inn Regent Beach Resort which is located abut two and half hour from Bangkok and sits among 40 acres of lush tropical gardens on a beautiful beach front.
The tournament was held at Banyan Golf Club, Black Mountain GC, Majestic Creek and Imperial Lake.
Bayan, a real world class golf course, received two great awards at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit 2010, while Black Mountain is one of the best courses in Thailand. It is a true masterpiece, designed to retain the splendour of the beautiful environment.
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 2011
Durban, the capital of the KwaZulu-Natal Province was awarded the rights to host the next three editions of the tournament through 2013.
And basking from the euphoria of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Durban made a huge show to pull off an event which many considered to be the best in the annals of the WGC.
The famed Durban Golden beaches along the Indian Ocean was put in focus as golfers arrived to play the Umhlali Country Club, Zimbali Golf Resort, Princes Grant and the amazing Durban Country Club.
It was a memorable life long experience to play four great courses, as well as participate in sight seeing activities that compelled the executive golfers to join the queue for a return Durban to participate in the 2012 edition.