21.05.2002 Golf

Professional golfers unhappy with organisation of sport

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Two professional golfers have expressed dissatisfaction with the organisation of the sport in the country claiming that professional golfers were not given the due recognition. Mr E. Brave-Mensah and Baba Akologo, who spoke to GNA Sports at the end of the 47th edition of the Asantehene Gold Cup Competition in Kumasi on Sunday, said instead of placing emphasis on the professional aspects of the game, it was rather the amateurs who got all the attention.

They contended that this situation accounted for the meagre prize money paid to professionals at competitions and said this state of affairs was a great disincentive to the growth of the sport in the country. Mr Brave-Mensah said for instance that in Togo, prize money was quite attractive while professional golfers were highly regarded.

He said in spite of several appeals to the Ghana Golf Association (GGA) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to have the sport supported and properly organised to give the professionals their due recognition, nothing had been done despite promises and assurances.

"If we the professionals, who impart knowledge to the youth that are taking up the sport are treated this way, then there is no future for these young ones since they will get the same treatment." Mr Brave-Mensah said if the GGA wanted to organise golf in the country, then it must sit up and organise it properly instead of what was happening now, adding that if on the other hand it could not organise the sport properly then it must give way to those who could do it properly.

Baba Akologo said the game was not growing in the country due to its poor organisation and that he had been a professional golfer for the past 11 years but had not seen any marked changes towards raising the sport from its present organisation to professional status, adding that Ghana was the poorest in terms of organisation of sports in the West African sub-region.

He mentioned prize money as the lowest and the lack of incentives in terms of souvenirs at competitions and said the professionals were completely left out by sponsors. Baba Akologo said for instance that he had colleagues in Nigeria, who were anxious to compete in the Asantehene Gold Cup but the four million cedis prize money was so meagre that he had to ask them to stop.

He mentioned sponsorship as one area that was also militating against the growth of the sport and said Nigeria for instance was paying about one million dollars to get Tiger Woods to visit that country and that it was a real booster to the sport in Nigeria. Baba Akologo said there were many professional players in the country who could make the game tick and asked the GGA to rather encourage the professionals, who could place the country on the world golf map instead of paying all the attention to amateur golfing.

He said a lot of young professional golfers had left the country to engage in other fields of endeavour due to the poor pickings from the sport in the country. Baba Akologo described the Kumasi golf course as the best in the country, which could be used to attract a lot of professional golfers if the game were properly organised.

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