The newly-launched Professional Golfers Association of Malawi (PGA Malawi) has planned to host a minimum of four tournaments and one major international tour this year.
PGA Malawi interim chairperson Patridge Shycal unveiled the ambitious plans during the association’s official launch at Blantyre Sports Club (BSC) on Thursday evening which was preceded by the inaugural PGA local tour.
He said time has come to provide gifted local golfers the platform to showcase their skills to a wider audience in their bid to scale lofty heights.
“As one of the world’s most popular sport, golf is a major niche tourism market with huge growth potential in Malawi, poised to take advantage of the game’s rapidly growing popularity in Africa.
“Our vision is to transform golf in Malawi by catapulting our professional golfers from the ‘golfing wilderness’ to the heights of excellence. We are planning to take the Locals Pro Tour in 2018 through all the beautiful parts of the country and we are hopeful that it will further boost Malawi’s revenue through tourism and enhancing the country’s standing in the international sporting arena. It will also make Malawi the favourite golfing destination,” said Shycal.
He also thanked sponsors of the inaugural showpiece such as FDH Bank who pumped in K500 000. The other sponsors were Business Computer Services (BCS) and ICTC Malawi.
“As we move forward, we have already courted partners like Umodzi Park/Peermont Hotels who are ready to offer substantial discounts in accommodation to both our local and international pros during tour events and we look forward to more companies partnering us as they position themselves on this year’s calendar.”
Shycal also urged the professional golfers to remain focused, saying: “We remind you that golf is not a game of perfection, but keep practising till you can’t get it wrong!”
The PGA interim boss also hailed the Golf Union of Malawi (GUoM) for embracing the formation of the professional body, saying they will look up to them for guidance and work as partners in the development of the sport.
GUoM president Hudson Kantwanje said they are delighted at the birth of PGA Malawi.
“As GUoM we will support you. We will be working as partners and when we are negotiating with sponsors for sponsorship [for amateur tournaments], it will also include professionals’ category.
“We want to see to it that talented golfers should benefit from their skills when they graduate into professionals,” he said.
The inaugural local tour attracted six participants and Lilongwe-based Adam Sailesi emerged the winner after edging international professional Paul Chidale while Victor Kachepatsonga was third.
For his feat, Sailesi—who scored 11 over par—received K300 000 and a trophy while Chidale (13 over par) and Kachepatsonga (16 over par) got K200 000 and K150 000 respectively.
Dwangwa-based Kondwani Mphula was fourth whereas Shycal and Gabriel Kambalame tied on position five.
Sailesi said the birth of the professional golfers body signifies a new dawn for golfers.
“This gives us hope for more opportunities in the future because in the past we were restricted to playing in amateur tournaments. I am also excited to become the first winner,” he said.
The PGA Malawi board also has Welkam Phiri as secretary, Webster Kaunga as treasurer while Noel Lipipa, Dingaan Chirwa, Thomas Chafunya and Chilungamo Chimwaza are members.