The former Lady Captain of the IBB Golf and Country Club of Abuja, Christie Adejoh, in this interview with Olawale Ayeni, states the need why the government must play their role to ensure the development of golf in the country to meet international best standards.
How would you rate the level of female involvement in Golf in the country?
“I would term it as a work in progress, in the past, there was little or no female participation but in recent times there has been a massive improvement“.
“We have women who have retired come into golf and soar. In competitive golfing, we also have women who can hold their own even outside the shores of our country. One of such is Georgina Oboh, who is blazing the trail, that young woman beat me at a golfing tournament in Wales at the young age of 9. She beat me in third place and came 2nd, what a fantastic feat at that age. We still have a few shining lights in female golfing in Nigeria“.
What role the government and women can play to develop Nigeria’s golfing sector to that of football?
“It would be hard to compete with football as it is as old as man itself however we are trying to also match that pace hence my involvement in some mobilization schemes. I have been talking to women in on that“.
“Professional capacity on the benefit of recreational exercise and this has paid off as we have women who are retirees and from other private organizations buying into our ideas. Others also are trying to pull this through such as the Lady Golfers Association of Nigeria has been active, Women in Sports and other private initiatives are all involved in mobilizing women in one way or the other“.
The government needs to be more involved as this would further boost the development of golf. Golf, as we know it has growth potential and is a bedrock for connectivity“.
“The Ministry of Youths and Development which is the umbrella body for the government has to pay more attention to the development of golf. However, that attention without infrastructure could be a moot point. So the government can make land available for such golf centres to be built and to thrive“.
“As you know, golf requires a special type of grass and this could pose expensive for private persons. So there is need for a public-private partnership to create public courses where people can train and play at cheaper rates unlike private courses which are obtainable in Nigeria and this could prove very expensive to access and this could be a discouraging feature“.
People are in the opinion that golf is for the elite alone, how would you react to this?
“The proliferation of private golf courses have lent credence to the claim that it is a game for elites. Unlike other climes like South Africa which has public courses which makes it easier for access. If we have that we will be able to have more participation“.
“If the government can lend its support to the creation of golf courses then it would go a long way. Every school has a playground, hence we can also create little golf courses we have such initiative playing out in GSS Gwagwalada however its placement on the Abuja map might pose a problem“.
“The misconceptions surrounding golf hinder persons as they have this elitist ideology in their minds, you must not have expensive apparel to play golf, you can start small“.
Tell us about some of your achievements during your tenure as the Lady Captain of IBB golf club?
“I was lady captain from 2005 to 2006; I was able to bring women together with the help of my team. However, the ladies before me also made a huge effort to do this, the level of international interference so it helped matters“.
“We had a lot of expatriates coming out more and participating and this helped a lot in mobilizing women. We also had the very first children golf clinic, it was the first time we brought in children and we had extreme support“.
“This marked the beginning in the growth of children golf clinic and academy which has been halted due to the pandemic, we teach these children the basic etiquette for golfers, so they also have classes outside the practical aspect on the course“.
Tell us about your down moments in golf
“I don’t recall down moments even when we had the Women Open, we pulled a lot of crowds, however, my down moment might have been when I neglected my personal life but this didn’t deter me. I would love to get to the professional title however age might not be on my side“.
What vision do you envisage for Nigeria’s golf sector?
“Golf is a game that has come to play, it might not have the popularity of football but I envision a bright future for the growth of golf“.
Who are your mentors in the game of golf?
“My golf mentor who introduced me to the game of golf and changed my whole perspective on golf as I used to think it was a waste of time was Air Commodore Johnson Onikutu. (Rtd) I also admire Rachel Danjuma who is a policewoman, that woman plays with such dexterity and discipline; I wish I could play like her. Internationally Georgina Oboh is someone I also admire so much. But ultimately I also thank the Almighty for it all“.