As a sport played by over 80 million people in over 130 countries, golf has a significant global reach. Unfortunately, however, the popularity of golf across the African continent is relatively low. This is largely due to limited golf development programmes and the fact that golf has traditionally been inaccessible to many Africans, writes Howard Swan.
Golf has a wide potential sphere of influence. It spans the leisure industry, professional and amateur sport, retail, tourism, hospitality, urban planning, eco-development, real estate investment and property development. Golf makes important contributions to community development through job creation, skills development, poverty alleviation and leisure opportunities.
In countries where golf is a fairly new sport, golf development initiatives are necessary to promote the game and to ensure that its associated socio-economic benefits can be realized. The Africa Golf Centres of Excellence Programme is an initiative aimed at promoting golf in African countries. Its aim is to establish and support efforts to help communities and countries benefit from a growing interest in golf.
The Africa Golf Centre of Excellence Programme will establish three key pilot projects in Southern Africa, West Africa and East Africa, through public–private partnerships.
The Africa Golf Summit will be an important turning point in establishing the Africa Golf Centres of Excellence Programme. At the Summit, a final decision regarding the selection of participants will be made. The Summit forum will determine the criterial for setting up pilot centres as well as participation in the programme. This will be done in consultation with the various national governments, the golfing federations and allied associations and the selected projects and facilities where the pilot programme will be developed in Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa.
In launching the Initiative Kwakye Donkor, Marketing Director of RETOSA (the Regional Economic and Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa) and Howard Swan, golf course architect at Swan Golf Designs and Chairman of the Golf Consultants’ Association hope to set out a platform whereby a number of stakeholders can work together in realising the aims and objectives of the programme. Swan adds “there is a great chance for many interested parties throughout sub Saharan Africa to pool their expertise, their experience and their enthusiasm to grow the game at this grass roots level and to involve a host of communities which have had no such opportunity to do so to date. More importantly, I feel that is a real opening to make an expanding game in Africa really work for those communities in reaching out and providing education and training for all involved. By doing so we must surely manage to make that Olympic ideal reachable to more”
The objectives of the Initiative are to:
Additionally, The Centres of Excellence aim:
Why Is a Development Programme Needed?
Proposed Scope of the Initiative
The programme aims to generate adequate technical and financial support for talented young people to become education, to undertake vocational training, in subject areas including the following:
Africa Golf Summit www.africagolfsummit.com/
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