The Malawi Professional Golfers Association (MPGA) is keen on working closely with the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) and the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL)-organised Safari Tour with the view of having Malawi professionals invited to play in the tour.
The on-going 2018/2019 Safari Tour has been featuring pros from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania though moving forward, it is the wish of the KOGL to see the tour attract pros from East Africa and beyond with the availability of sponsors.
Speaking during a meeting between the visiting Malawian golfers and the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman Lucas Maranga at the KGU offices at Muthaiga Golf Club, MPGA President Patridge Shycal - who is also the Secretary General of Africa Professional Golfers Association (PGA) - said his country is committed to developing professional golf by sending its players to participate in various events in the continent.
“We know the Kenya Open is now a European Tour event and it may not be easy for a Malawian pro to be invited to play. We are however very keen to collaborate with the organizers of Safari Tour to see if we can work together for the benefit of both our pros and Kenyan pros,’’ said Shycal who was the man behind the Malawi Open last November, the first ever open pro event in Malawi.
Shycal, himself a professional, said it was his wish to see Africa having one big pro tour that will bring together professionals from the African continent. He is among a group of eight Malawian golfers who are in Kenya to participate in the “King of The Course’’ set for Saturday at Machakos Golf Club.
The group led by the President of Malawi Golf Union (MGU) Hudson Kantwanje and which includes the Malawi Sports Council chairman James Chuma, played in Limuru Country Club on Thursday. On Friday, the group was at Muthaiga to test the challenging par 71 Muthaiga course after meeting KGU boss Maranga.
Speaking during the meeting, Kantwanje said besides playing in the King of The Course tournament in Machakos, they were keen to learn how Kenya has been able to develop the game of golf.
“We thought that this was a perfect opportunity for us to meet with our Kenyan colleagues and exchange ideas and experiences on how Kenya has been able to move forward to the level of having such big events like the Kenya Open, Karen Masters and even starting the Safari Tour,’’ said the Malawi golf boss.
On his part, Maranga advised the MPGA president to work together closely with KOGL and PGK to see whether Malawian pros can participate in the Safari Tour or the Kenya Open. On the other hand, Maranga said his committee is willing to share ideas on things like course management and ratings and other golf development programmes.
Sports Kenya chairman Fred Muteti, who also attended the meeting, said he will be working closely with the Malawi Sports Council chairman to explore areas where Kenya can assist Malawi come up with a sports plan to develop sports such as golf.
“You cannot develop sports without proper funding hence the need for our brothers in Malawi to develop a strategic plan which will transform the various sports like golf. Muteti advised the local KGU to review its rules with the view of changing them to conform with the new Sports Act which requires every sport to be administered by one body.
“Sports Kenya is willing to assist KGU in achieving its development programmes including the construction of the public golf course at Kasarani because part of our mandate is to develop sports facilities,’’ said Muteti who is also a golfer in his own right.