Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
ON his first official visit to Zimbabwe since taking over as Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews golf development manager for Africa, Eden Thompson was impressed with the way the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) is conducting business.
Coming into the country when ZGA were hosting their first tournament of the year, the Dugmore and Fellowship at Bulawayo Golf Club, Thompson, said it was recommended by the country’s golf governing body that he ties the visit with the tournament.
Having lived in Zimbabwe before, the South Africa based Thompson said he was proud that his first ever visit since assuming the role was Zimbabwe.
“President Martin Chikwana recommended that we tie the visit to the Dugmore tournament having played competitive golf at Bulawayo Golf Club when I lived here. It has been amazing to come back, it’s great to see a fantastic field so hats off to ZGA for what they have done.
“I have lived in Africa my entire life, I have lived in Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa and this is my first official visit since taking over as the R and A development manager for Africa,” said Thompson.
The R and A is the world governing body for golf outside of the Americas and their role includes coming up with rules which govern the game. Thompson assumed his role in October last year and he seeks to assist the R and A in ensuring that the African continent gets the development assistance and access to information that has been extended through the Asia Pacific and the Latin America areas over a period 11 and nine years respectively.
Of the 52 countries on the African continent, 29 are affiliated to the R and A. Thompson said they will work closely with the Africa Golf Confederation (AGC) in developing the game. During his stay in the country, he had the chance to meet the Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC) and delegates from the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation in Harare before he headed to Bulawayo, a city where he once lived in.
Last year, in partnership with International Golf Federation, South Africa Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and the Olympic Solidarity and the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, ZGA provided seven young golfers out of 18 at the high performance programme camp which was held in South Africa which Thompson said speaks to the good work that has been done in the country.
Chikwana said he was pleased that Zimbabwe got to be the first country to be visited by Thompson.
“It’s been an honour to host Eden and ultimately hosting the R and A, we feel honoured as a country to be the first affiliate to be visited,” he said.
Thompson said the future of golf on the continent is great and his desire was to return to Zimbabwe in future to check of the development of the sport. — @brandon_malvin