Former Governor of Osun State Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has clamoured for state governments to take a fleeting role in the promotion of the game of golf in Nigeria.
Oyinlola, who is the president of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), made this assertion while fielding questions during the recent President Cup held in Abuja.
He said that Nigeria’s quest for a headway in golf at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will only come to reality if government at all levels in the country play their role in developing the game at the grassroots.
According to Oyinlola, the game can be grown through investment in public golf courses and driving ranges which will encourage more people at the grassroots to participate in the game.
“We are appealing to respective state governments to assist us if only to make driving ranges available where the young ones can develop their interest. We want them to build public courses in the states,” he said.
Golf is still seen as elitist in the consciousness of Nigerians because the game is domiciled at the clubs where a membership at most of the privately owned golf courses is a condition before one can be fully integrated into the game.
But by Oyinlola’s admission the game will only grow if government makes the facilities accessible to the public in form of driving ranges and public courses.
He disagreed with the notion that a public course cannot be set up in Nigeria by insisting that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Sports to maintain it once it has been handed over by government.
Oyinlola similarly appealed to the present administration in Osun State to continue with the golf course project he initiated in Osogbo when he was the governor of the state.
Senate President David Mark and former Secretary to the Federal Government Babagana Kingibe, were among the winners at the weeklong President Cup sponsored by Globacom at the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja.
Mark, playing off handicap 12, returned a level par nett score of 144 over 36 holes for victory.
Kingibe won the veteran’s best prize with 173 gross score while Brig General (rtd) Victor Lot clinched the veteran prize in the nett category.