Ghana now has about 15 Golf Clubs. These are predominantly in the Western Region at Takoradi, Benso, Obuasi, Bogoso, Damang, Awaso, Tarkwa and the remainder dotted around the country at Achimota, Sakumono, Airforce Mess, Tema, Tafo, Kumasi, rudiments at Wind Bay and Coconut Groove.
The number of Golf Courses have fluctuated and dwindled between 15 and 20 over the years since the 50’s. Some of these courses have since gone extinct, namely the Beach courses in Accra , others at Nsawam, Winneba, Cape Coast, Abosso, Prestea, Konongo,and Akwatia.
A cursory examination will confirm that these facilities are mainly at Mining Towns and old colonial settlements
Under listed are the current numbers of Golf courses;
Achimota Golf Club - 18 holes/Greens
Bok Nam Kim Golf Club - 9 holes/Browns
Celebrity/Sakumono Golf Club - 18 holes/Greens
Tema Country Golf Club - 18 holes/Greens
Takoradi Golf Club - 9 holes /Browns
Benso Golf Club - 18 holes/ Greens
Tarkwa Golf Club - 9 holes/Greens
Obuasi Golf Club - 9 holes/Greens
Damang Golf Club - 18 holes/Greens
Tafo Golf Club - 9 holes/Greens
Royal Golf Club/Kumasi - 18 holes/Greens
Windy Bay / Winneba - 9 holes/Browns
Ankobra Golf Club / Bogoso - 9 holes
Coconut Grove Golf Club - 9 holes
Awaso Golf Club - 9 holes
Nsuta Golf Club - 9 holes
GHANA GOLF ASSOCIATION
These Clubs affiliated to form the Ghana Golf Association (GGA) in the mid 1970’s led by a group of dedicated Golfers who were members of the biggest Club, Achimota, notably JVL Phillips, Kwesi Chinbuah. Acquaah Harrison and the late David Anderson. They became the Executives of the GGA.
The GGA is mandated to promote the game of Golf in Ghana, both Amateur and Professional; regulate all attributes pertaining to golf, inclusive of interclub’s disputes, and enforcing the rules of Golf in accordance with the rules of the World Ruling Body, Royal and Ancient (R&A) of St Andrews, Scotland.
The GGA is managed by a Council composed of a President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Deputy Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, and Captains of Affiliated Clubs, two representatives of Ladies Golf Union, (LGU) and the President of the Professional Golfers association, (PGA).
Member Clubs have their schedules of Tournaments which annually are submitted to the GGA Executive Committee to enable it to coordinate all Tournaments so that major Tournaments do not clash.
The Executive Committee are themselves mandated to organize the topmost Tournament on the Golfing calendar, the Ghana Amateur Open Golf Championship The hosting of the Championship rotates amongst the affiliated member clubs and is an international Tournament open to all Clubs in the country and other Clubs outside the country especially our sub-regional neighbours, and members affiliated to the World Body, R&A of St. Andrews.
GHANA OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
The Ghana Amateur Open Golf Championship is the flagship Tournament of the year with a long chorused history dating back to the 1920’s.
The first competition was organized in 1927 hosted by the Beach Course which is now extinct. Records show that the Championship has been held annually since then with a null during the war years 1942-1945.
There has been some improvement in Golf Facilities with the construction of 18 Hole Golf courses at Achimota, Tema, Kumasi and Damang.
The Tournament which is now held traditionally in during the Easter Holiday is rotated among the leading 18 Hole Golf Clubs in the country.
The Kumasi Golf Club,( now Royal Golf Club ) tops all clubs when it comes to hosting since first hosting the Open in 1932 because of the 9 Hole Golf courses at the time; Kumasi provided the ideal and challenging setting. From1956, the hosting rotated between Achimota and Kumasi, but Tema entered the fray in 1979 and Celebrity in 1994.
The 2009 Tournament was hosted by the Tema Country Club in 2009 and a review of the history shows that since the 1952 when Takoradi hosted the event, the Open has eluded the Western Region over the past 48yrs. This year’s Tournament has at last come to the West through Damang Golf Club .
The Damang Golf Club is located at Abosso Goldfieds Limited, Damang Gold Mine in the Western Region of Ghana.
The initial competitors were open to Men only, with the Expatriate Community dominating. The first winner on record in 1930 was Capt. A. Mackenzie of V’Borg Club.
The first Ghanaian to win the Ghana Open was Sam K. Appiah in 1963 but was not until the 1970’s that David Abaloo won in 1971 and subsequently Ghanaians began to win, year in and year out.
A lot of them progressed to be Professionals, namely, J. Dey, Y. Kwashie, W. Degbe, C. Quarshie, J. A. Kwashie, Yao Daniel, Effa Poku, S. Y. Anarfi. Nii Badu, F. C. Dzikunu, amos Korblah and Baba Akologo.
Outstanding winners have been four (4) males, two of whom have won it four (4) times, J. E. Stewart (1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951) Walter Degbe (1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986) and two others who have won it three times, J. J. Coggin (1959, 1961, 1962) and Ted Munn (1966, 1968, 1969) and Sam Appiah (1963, 1972, 1975).
The 2009 Champion is Francis Torgah of Royal Golf, Kumasi and the current Champion is George Osei of Takoradi Sports Club who returned gross 219 over 54 Holes to win at Damang Golf Club Ladies participated for the first time in 1973, with Mrs Leticia Omaboe winning the inaugural Ladies event. Subsequently four (4) Ladies from Achimota have dominated the Ladies event, notably Grace Quartey, Sussie Abaloo, Mona Captain (now Mrs Myers-Lampety).
The only visiting winner has been Bessy Habermacher (nee Boateng) who entered from Kenya, playing to Handicap 2.
The 2009 and 2010 Ladies Event saw the emergence of a new champion, Grace Afriyie of Tema Country Golf Club who beat perennial winner, Mona Myers-Lamptey (2009 ) and Felicity Okyei Gyeabour ( 2010 )
The conduct of the tournament has changed with the Men’s events changing to 54 Holes since 1971 when David Abaloo won at Achimota.
The Ladies event has been vacillating between 36 and 54 Holes.
Since the 1970’s when the Ghanaians started winning, a lot of the talented winners turned Professional.
The first Ghanaian Amateurs to turn Professional was David Abaloo.
The winners who have not turned Professional are notably G. K. Asante (1977 winner) E. M. Kwame (1998 winner).
The Professional event has always taken back stage at the Ghana Open therefore to improve the Professional Game the Ghana Professional Golfers Association set up the WAMCO Tour.
The Principle of this Tour sponsored by West Africa Cocoa Company of Takoradi was to oragnise Pros Ams, Golf Clinics and monthly Professional Events. As in all Professional Events, two Players, Amos Korblah and Victor Brave-Mensah excelled and won most the Tournaments. Sponsorship has since lapsed.
Our Professionals have chalked successes internationally, with Amos Korblah being the first African to win the Nigeria Open, a Safari Tour Event that had been the monopoly of European Pros. Previous European Winners catapulted their carreers to become World Champions eg, Nick Faldo, Vijay Sighn.
GOLF DEVELOPMENT AND JUNIOR GOLF
The future of the Game resides in unearthing talent early nurturing and sustaining this drive. In this quest the GGA has set up Junior Golf Ghana ( JGG ) tasked with introducing golf to the very young both in and out of school .
Their mandate therefore includes:
1. Junior Golf Ghana ( JGG )
In the wake of Golf’s resurgence as a Summer Olympic Sport in November 2009 the growth of the game has assumed international and astronomical proportions. The Golf Development Foundation was set up by the GGA to harness this renewed impetus. The growth of the game revolves around, Junior Golf and improved facilities. It is said that a kid in sports is a kid out of court and the GGA wishes to spread Golf to all youth under 18years of age
The the JGG has been set up to be responsible for Junior Golf the thrust of the growth of Golf into our schools, the Skills for Life Program.
The Committee is tasked to hold meetings and co-opt such additional persons as they see fit and collaborate with the National Sports Council.
They shall encourage the total wellbeing and welfare of juniors inclusive of education, through golf.
The JGG’s principal objective is the promotion and development of golf for young amateurs up to the age of 18years. They shall encourage the total wellbeing and welfare of juniors inclusive of education, through golf. The objectives of JGG therefore are:
• The Promotion of golf among the wider population
• To establish active junior sections and junior memberships at all Golf Clubs.
• To pursue Skills for Life Program that strives to develop discipline in the youth through golf.
• To schedule junior tournaments and competitions at affiliated clubs.
• Organizing and Sponsoring coaching schemes and competitions.
• To appoint junior organisers and encourage juniors to participate in the organization of Junior Golf.
• Involve schools in the Skills for Life Program that provides opportunities to learn etiquette, good behavior and integrity and respect for fellow competitors.
• Solicit support and donations for the furtherance of the above objectives from Individuals and corporate bodies, the National Sports Council in the promotion of Golf Nationwide. To Collaborate with interested parties in the growth of Golf as a Summer Olympic Sport. Develop a Junior Handicapping system and a Merit
The following objectives are to be pursued:
The JGG will collaborate with the National Sports Council, and relevant National Organizations to implement the Skills for Life Program.
Golf Clubs are to encourage junior sections, by promoting family memberships and identifying Teaching Professionals.
Facilitate the acquisition of Equipment for golf. ie Provision of Junior golf clubs, practice balls for Junior Training Programs in collaboration.
The funds of JGG shall be used only in furtherance of the objectives of the Foundation including Professional Trainer fees, prizes for Junior Tournaments, Equipment ( Golf Clubs, practice balls ) and Educational Grants.
The ultimate aim of this Committee is to gradually grow Ghana Golf, to embrace the acceptance of Golf as a Summer Olympic Sport and begin the journey to present a Golf Olympic Team, however long it takes.
It is the wish of the GGA that this dream will come to fruition in the shortest possible time
Dr. Felix K. Frempong President / Ghana Golf Association