PROFESSIONAL golf in Zimbabwe is set for a major lift following the early success of the PGA Tour of Zimbabwe, which has been characterised by quality fields and low scores since its inception two months ago.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Designed along the same lines as the Big Easy and IGT development tours in South Africa, the PGA Tour of Zimbabwe seeks to provide a stepping stone for local players to Southern Africa’s premier professional tour, the Sunshine Tour, and the exciting world of international golf.
PGA Tour of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Cedric Jonker told NewsDay Sport that since the first tournament in July, the development tour, which seeks to complement the Zambezi Tour, had successfully hosted seven two-day events with fields ranging from 17 to 36 players.
“We have had seven separate winners and the winning scores over two rounds have ranged from level par to seven-under-par,” he said.
“Ideally, our target is to hold 40 four-day events during the year. The number of tournament rounds will be determined by the sponsorship amount. Our intention is to hold 16 tournaments in Harare, the core business centre, with the balance spread throughout the country, from Victoria Falls to Leopard Rock, and incorporating the Lowveld and Masvingo. We will then be able to assist the promotion of the sponsors’ product satisfactorily,” he said.
Jonker, who has been involved in the organisation of the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, however, said for the tour to realise its full potential, there was need for local sponsors to come on board.
“As we are all aware, realistically, nothing can be achieved without finance. We need an umbrella sponsor which is essential in achieving our goals. With this in mind, we are hoping to host a sponsor awareness and promotional golf day shortly, where finer details may be better explained and understood. However, our appeal is for the minimum sponsorship prize money of $5 000 for a two-day event, $7 500 for a three-round event and $10 000 for a four-round event. There is no maximum sponsorship ceiling,” he said.
Jonker, who was honoured with a Golf Achievement award by the Zimbabwe Golf Association in recognition of his contribution to local golf, said the PGA Tour of Zimbabwe would also hold clinics for local players.
“Our aims are also to improve the quality and sustainability of the sport, while furthering and upholding our standards. We will encourage talented amateur players from all walks of life and promote coaching programmes, incorporating fitness training schemes . . . We do have qualified coaches in our midst and coaching clinics have already commenced and we are working reasonably well, but more concerted efforts will be made as we travel around the country,” he said.