The 2012 JK Gadzama and Partners LLP golf tournament held at the IBB International Golf and Country Club has come and gone but the effect still lingers. In this report, SALIFU USMAN examines the significance of the annual tournament and its tourism potential to the nation’s economy.
The attraction for the game of golf in the country has seen an increase in the number of dedicated golfers in recent years. It appears that membership has reached saturation level with a major contributor to this seems to be the amount of time the sport consumes.
The main potential growth for the game of golf in Nigeria lies with the aging population, which is growing in size. These golfers are becoming increasingly active as they are now playing for prizes and laurels instead of personal satisfaction and leisure.
This has been boosted in the advent of tourneys like the JK Gadzama and Partners LLP annual golf tournament and other events in the country.
The growing event is also contributing to the growth of the golf sector and the nation’s economy. This is because with the championship is tilting towards becoming a national and international tournament in the nearest future according to the organiser. There are both economical and social benefits from the event; the visiting sportsmen and women, their support teams and supporters.
Not only that there are direct benefits of the money spent to provide these events in terms of payment for goods and services and the money spent on participants but there are also indirect benefits of increased employment in providing the services.
Staging such events also improve infrastructure, accommodation, amenities and the growth and development that would continue as a result of staging event of such magnitude annually.
About 200 golfers participated in the 5th edition of the annual tournament held last month at the IBB International Golf and Country Club which Sam Anyamele emerged as the overall winner of the one-day event. Anyamele, handicap 10, played 78, nett 69 to beat other contestants for the top prize of the championship.
The 18-hole annual tournament featured both male and female golfers, saw other participants smile home with several prizes in different categories. Emeka Okatta, handicap 14, played 75, nett 70 to win the men division one category. The men division two prize went to H.K. Usman who played 86 with 69 nett counts. While John Obiyan played 97, 21 nett counts to win the veteran event.
The annual golf tournament is being organised as a way of forging ties among the sponsors, their patrons and other amateur golfers with ultimate aim of discovering young talents. Speaking with LEADERSHIP SPORTS during the tee-off of the tournament, the legal luminary and former captain of IBB Golf Club, JK Gadzama, the brain behind the championship, said J.K. Gadzama and Partners LLP golf tournament which started like a child’s play in 2008 has become an annual championship in the annual calendar of events of the IBB Golf and Country Club and would soon become a national event.
“Our starting point was five years ago, and like a joke we are now here where the event has metamorphosed into a full-blown tournament. We are hopeful that this will continue, and even go on in the not-too-distant future into a national championship which will be better organised and with more attraction.
We hope to have more invited players from all over the country and not just Abuja and its environs. Then we will also have bigger prizes and other gifts and souvenirs to go with it. The game of golf has been part of me for the last decade and I have imbibed it as part of my culture because of its obvious benefits. So I have a duty and responsibility to promote the game. Moreover, in golf there is friendship and I have a passion for it,’’ he said.
He noted that the tournament has over the past few years grown tremendously to fulfill the objectives earlier set out for it. “As a former captain of the IBB Golf Club and as somebody who has served this country in different capacity, it beckons on me to support and promote the game of golf in the country.
It is not only as a way of providing an avenue for people to play a little after some work or bringing them closer to one another, but also as a way of giving back something to the golf community as part of our corporate responsibility to the society. The more important aspect is fulfilling the ambition and desire to breed young golfers. These are what necessitate my active participation in golf promotion,” he said.
Gadzama, a golfer with 16-handicap, has also served the captain of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Golf Tournament, and has helped in his private capacity to popularise golf among his colleagues who in the past five years have been featuring in the NBA tournament held annually.