Rivers, Pool Of Potential Golfers -Okpomo, Nigeria First Pro-Golfer
The first Nigerian Professional golfer, Elder Patrick Okpomo a.k.a 001 has opined that Rivers State can boast of potential golfers due to the upsurge of golf courses in the state.
Elder Okpomo, who started Professional golf in England in 1968 made the assertion in a chat with our correspondent in Port Harcourt.
He said the presence of Port Harcourt Club Golf section, Python Golf Course, Shell Club Golf course, Nigerian Navy Golf Course, and Air Assault Golf Club had helped improved the game of golf in the state.
The veteran golfer disclosed that with over 30 professional golfers and a good number of amateurs, the state is a force to reckon with in the game, but expressed dismay that lack of sponsorship of tournaments had been a great challenge towards maintaining their status both nationally and internationally.
According to him, golfers in Rivers state and indeed Nigeria could compete favourably with their counterparts elsewhere, but the economy and sponsorship continue to be part of their set-back.
Okpomo, who was also the first Captain of Professional Golfers in Nigeria in 1969-1970 and 1982-1984 in Lagos opined that with sponsorships, golfers will create impact, and appealed to governments, corporate organizations and spirited individuals to further help the game of golf to attain its desired position.
He noted that although the notion that golf is for the elite could be true to certain extent due to the cost of acquiring golf kits, and being a member of the golf club, but that if government and individuals could afford to build driving ranges (practice areas) in all the Local Government Areas were young players could be trained and equipped will make the game less expensive and easy to develop.
The veteran who was recently given an award for his contributions towards promoting golf in Africa and Nigeria by the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria said the award will spur him to always give out his best to professional golf, in order to allow the younger ones to take over from them.
He said as a life member of the Professional Golf Body and Port Harcourt Club as well as the oldest pro-golfer, he is still available to render services to promote golf in Rivers State and Nigeria in general.