The just concluded 2018 Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria (PGAN) Qualifying School examination has raised some pertinent issues that can aid the growth of the game in the country with specific reference to facilities and grading.
The major complaint was the “difficult” terrain of the host golf course – Lamingo Golf Course – in Jos, Plateau State which some players who spoke with DAILY INDEPENDENT believed affected their game.
One of the students who spoke under anonymity appreciated efforts of PGAN in advancing the game and the Lamingo course design, but not without expressing his ills.
“Being a PGAN pro is all about hard work, decency and honesty.
“Although I didn’t do well in the event, but am happy I participated; am happy because it was a new experience – my mentality has changed; everything is working as planned.
“One thing that made me uncomfortable is the golf course; it has a good design, but it lacks fairway grasses which made the game more complicated. Anyway, I just hope I turn pro in future.”
Others are of the opinion that if the PGAN Qualifying School would remain permanently at Lamingo Golf Club, it may lower the practical score since the fairways lack grasses or the venue changed to another golf club course.
Tony Uduimo, a former PGAN Director and a reference figure in the game in Nigeria and Africa, in general, said that the association has the final say even as students must prepare properly for examination irrespective of the standard set or the venue.
“People will always complaint in anything, whether positive or negative – it is normal. But, I support the need for good facilities in sports because it is part of the development.
“In this PGAN’s case, I think the executive is the only authority that has the final say. They know what they want and all the students need do is to always prepare well.
“Otherwise, there are no cheap examinations anywhere in the world; it depends on individual level of preparedness and one cannot ask for low score to easy pass mark.”
Samson Lawal, PGAN Director responding, reasoned that the PGAN Qualifying School has a reputation to maintain, noting that it wiould not lower its guard for cheap admission of professionals.
“It is unfair for anybody or student to complain about Lamingo golf course. Lamingo 20 years ago hosted the Nigeria Open and as I speak, much has been done by the management of the club to improve the facilities. A visit will convince doubters.
“PGAN will not in any guise lower its standard. PGAN has credibility which it cannot destroy, but we will always build on the structures on ground to move forward.”
Unchenna Ezebuilo, the PGAN Tournament Director contributing urged prospective professionals to work hard at all times as there was no easy way to success.
“The message to everybody who wants to become a professional is simply hard work; no one achieve success on a platter of gold,” he said.
Ezebuilo, however, harped on the need to appreciate the sponsor of the programme – Simon Lalong of Plateau State: “The programme is being sponsored by a man and Governor of Plateau State who has passion for golf. It will be unwise to ask that the programme should be taken away from the present venue. We need sponsors and the governor is one; we should be grateful to him for his gesture,” Ezebuilo said.
It would be recalled that the PGAN Director in his last speech at the passing out said, “The hallmark of a PGA professional in the 21st century is to be dynamic and responsive to changes.
“This year’s qualifying school witnessed a remarkable change from the old way of doing things. This has resulted in this re-sit of the final programme that was held in January this year at this very club.
“This re-sit was necessitated by our desire to give a second chance to the candidates,” he concluded.