By Duncan Mlanjira
Professional Golfers Association of Malawi (PGAMW) is in Kenya on a learning tour with the view of having Malawi professionals to be invited to play in the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) and the Safari Tour which is organised by the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL).
The Malawi delegation, as reported by that country’s Daily Nation newspapers, include PGAMW president Patridge Shycal, Golf Union of Malawi (GUoM) president Hudson Kantwanje and Malawi Sports Council chairman James Chuma, himself also an accomplished golfer.
Shycal, who is also secretary general of Africa Professional Golfers Association (PGA), confirmed they were in Nairobi and are holding meetings Kenya Golf Union and Kenya PGA for partnership and to learn how Kenya has been able to develop the sport on professional level.
The Daily Nation said currently the 2018/2019 Safari Tour is on-going and has been featuring pros from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania but moving forward, it is the wish of the KOGL to have the Tour attract pros from East Africa and beyond.
The paper reports that after meeting the visiting Malawian golfers, KGU chairman Lucas Maranga at the KGU offices at Muthaiga Golf Club, said Kenya is committed to developing professional golf by sending its players to participate in various events in the continent.
“Maranga advised the PGAMW president to work together closely with KOGL and PGK to see whether Malawian pros can participate in the Safari Tour or the Kenya Open,” the paper said.
Shycal, who was behind the Malawi Open last November, the first ever open pro event in Malawi, is quoted as saying: “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.’’
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.
The Malawian group, which also include PGAMW co-director Chilungamo Chimwaza, GUoM vice-president Justice Ken Manda, GUoM Immediate Past President Frank Mwalo and GUoM junior golf director Justine Mkandawire, are expected to participate in the ‘King of The Course’ set for Saturday at Machakos Golf Club.
On Friday, the group was at Muthaiga to test the challenging par 71 Muthaiga course after meeting KGU boss Maranga, who presented the KGU flag to his Malawian counterpart Kantwanje.
Dubbed The Warm Heart Pros Tour, PGAMW international tournament was also be used as a stepping stone in promoting Malawi tourism.
For many years, Malawian golfers have been playing as amateurs and that status forbid them from receiving cash prizes but they were entitled to material prizes like golf-related equipment, television sets, microwaves, trophies and other prizes.
But now PGAMW want golfers to earn their salaries from playing golf as it is done in other countries. The Warm Heart Pros Tour is one of the two international tours the association pledges to be hosting annually apart from the local tournaments.