By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has made it mandatory for members of the state’s executive committee to play golf by registering with golf clubs in Jos, the state capital.
Lalong disclosed this to reporters at the recent LGAN Northern Zone Championship that held in Abuja.
He described golf as a lifestyle that when inculcated will make his commissioners remain healthy and avoid untimely death usually associated with politicians.
The governor also said the policy is to enable the executive tap into his philosophy of using golf to drive Plateau State as a major tourism destination in Nigeria.
“Golf is a game for gentlemen. In my state, I have made it compulsory for all members of the executive to register with all the three clubs. As it is, few of my commissioners have become good golfers. I want to encourage people, particularly politicians, who run away from exercise at a time we see politicians dying. One thing that will take them away from sudden death is to start playing golf,” Lalong said.
Jos is renowned for its temperate weather and boasts of three golf courses-Rayfield, Lamengo and Army owned Rhino Golf Club inside Rukuba Barracks.
Aside the aforementioned courses, Lalong also revealed of the existence of a nine-hole, all green course in the Government House.
The course that was built by a former military governor was abandoned and was only rehabilitated by the state government which upgraded it to green.
Lalong similarly revealed of plan to transform Rayfield and Lamengo into green courses, while the state also plans to set up a golf academy that will nurture children and ladies and make them good golfers.
And in line with effort to develop professional golf, there will be a second Plateau State Governor’s Cup in December to coincide with Christmas.
Lalong, who plays golf off handicap 13, said that people are indifferent to golf because they see it as a sport only for the rich and a form of exercise for retired army officers.
”Golf is a sport you can do even at the age of 100. I used to assume it was an exercise for retired military men and for lazy people- those who don’t want to do anything. I saw them as people walking in the bush with a golf stick. I said I would rather go hunting than to play golf. But the people were shocked the first month I started playing golf. People were very surprised when I changed tune that it is not an exercise for lazy men and retired military officers,” concludes the governor.