The Sunshine Tour handed over 5,000 golf balls to the Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association during the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open being played at the Royal Harare Golf Club.
With golf being added to the Olympic Games roster for Rio de Janeiro in 2016, there is increased interest in the game at school level in Zimbabwe, said Zimbabwe Open tournament director Michael Mahachi while accepting the donation together with Mike Baylis, who runs the Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association.
“After funding, equipment is one of our biggest challenges,” said Mahachi. “If you look at the schools, because the sport is new in most cases not only to the junior golfers, but to the family as well, and for them to actually get money to get equipment – and in some cases, it’s just to get them to the golf courses where clinics are run.”
The balls, supplied by Titleist, will be absorbed into a programme which serves about 1,000 junior golfers in the country. “It’s such a basic bit of equipment and it’s not a cheap item,” said Mahachi. “Obtaining balls and clubs presents a big challenge for guys coming into the sport.”
Sunshine Tour professionals James Kingston, Wallie Coetsee and Zimbabwe’s TC Charamba were in attendance when the balls were handed over, and spent some time with some of the youngsters helping with some lessons.
Harare itself has five schools involved in the junior golf programmes run by Baylis. “Golf is now part of the sporting curriculum at Zimbabwean schools,” said Mahachi. “That’s great, because it’s easier to develop golf through the schools than without their assistance.
“Before, Zimbabwe school sport was rugby, cricket and football, but now golf is slowly making an impression,” he added.