Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Botswana Golf Union mobilises youngsters

The Botswana Golf Union (BGU) will once again mobilise youngsters for the training clinics. The clinics start next week on August 19 and will last for five days. The executive secretary of BGU, Comfort Ramatebele, told The Sunday Standard that the clinics are expected to attract more than 100 kids from all over the country. Ramatebele also said for the first time in golf history, the clinics will not only be in Gaborone but in Selibe Phikwe as well.
“It has always been our intention to spread the clinics to other parts of Gaborone, but our efforts were hampered by several factors. I am happy to say that this time around other training clinics will be in Selibe-Phikwe and we are optimistic that there will be a huge turnover. Previously we used to have more than 80 kids and this time around we are expecting more than 100,” he said.

Ramatebele also stressed that they chose Selibe Phikwe as the second place outside Gaborone because it contributed heavily to the development of golf in Botswana. He said most renowned golf players in Botswana originate from the Selibe Phikwe area. Ramatebele added that even in junior development, most of the players are from the copper nickel town.

Ramatebele said that they are not undermining other areas in Botswana, and they would, in the near future, conduct some junior training clinics countrywide. Four Batswana golf experts are expected to conduct the training clinics for the kids in both Gaborone and Selibe Phikwe. According to Ramatebele, those who will be selected are high profile coaches who know the sport very well. Ramatebele has, however, given assurance that it would be for the last time training clinics are held only during the school holidays. He said after the end of the forthcoming training clinics, the BGU will change to fortnightly periods.

“We actually like to see more kids taking golf seriously and their numbers to grow tremendously. Our dream will not be easily achieved if we hold clinics during the school holidays. This then means we hold them about thrice a year and that is why we want them to be held on a fortnightly basis. We are optimistic that more kids will come forward and eventually this perception that golf is the sports for the well-to-do goes away,” Ramatebele said.
Ramatebele also sang praises to the First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) for sponsoring the junior development programme for half a million pula for the period of five years. He said FNBB’s efforts will enable the BGU to develop the sports at an alarming rate. Ramatebele said other companies are also willing to come forward and it would not be surprising if they find another lucrative sponsor sooner.

Ramatebele also told The Sunday Standard that they would like to liaise with the Botswana Institute of Sports Association to encourage even more mass participation. He said once that is done, teaches would easily up-skill the youngsters instead of waiting for the training clinics.

Ramatebele, however, said the main challenge the BGU faces is the lack of space facility. He said golf courses need a huge space and acquiring such space is not easy in Botswana.

“Golf facilities are determined by exotic places like hotels. Then after that it depends on the size of the land the place is situated. Golf needs a lot of land compared to other sports like football. For instance, a golf course would need 18 holes and a hole is a size of the football pitch,” he said.

BGU has in the past not held bigger international tournaments, but Ramatebele said efforts are underway to host one of them in the not so distant future. He expressed optimism that tournaments such as the Zone VI and men’s triangular series would be held on home soil.

“I think in Botswana we have resources that can enable us to host bigger tournaments. Just recently the ladies team hosted the triangular series and we can also do it. Even some of the locally organized tournaments went well with out hassles,” he said.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.