By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi Professional Golfers Association (PGAMW) is on a campaign to raise funds to send three of the country’s top professional golfers, Paul Chidale, Victor Kachepatsonga and Adam Sailesi to participate at the Safari Tour competition in Kenya in February.
PGAMW treasurer Webster Kaunga said they are engaging various stakeholders in the corporate world for assistance for the three to represent Malawi and also for them to gain more experience as professional golfers.
PGAMW has established in December 2017 and has already made swift strides in its effort to be the leading professional golf body in Malawi and the southern African region and just last November it successful hosted the first ever-professional golf Tour at Lilongwe Golf Club which dubbed ‘The Warm Heart Pro Tour’.
“It is in this spirit of professionalism that PGA Malawi is seeking passionate corporate sector and business owners, that see value in developing the next class of champion golfers in Malawi, to join hands in taking the prestigious sport to greater heights,” Kaunga said.
“PGA Malawi embraces 2019 and beyond as years full of opportunities and therefore we appeal to the corporate sector to collaborate with us in executing our ambitious plans in ensuring advancement of professional golf in the country starting with sending these three to Kenya to gain more experience and exposure.
“We successfully hosted The Warm Heart Pro Tour that attracted 63 golfers from eight African countries and Europe namely Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Portugal.
“None of Malawian players were in the top 10 because it was their first professional tournament and against experienced golfers. We have to provide them with the right exposure and send them to Kenya for that experience is vital if we are to take the sport to greater heights.”
Early this month, a delegation of PGAMW was 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, included PGAMW president Patridge Shycal, who is also secretary general of Africa Professional Golfers Association; Golf Union of Malawi (GUoM) president Hudson Kantwanje, PGAMW co-director Chilungamo Chimwaza, GUoM vice-president Justice Ken Manda, GUoM Immediate Past President Frank Mwalo and GUoM junior golf director Justine Mkandawire and Malawi Sports Council chairman James Chuma.
The delegation held meetings with Kenya Golf Union and Kenya PGA for partnership and to learn how Kenya has been able to develop the sport on professional level.
According to that country’s The Daily Nation the Safari Tour has been featuring pros from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania but moving forward, it they want to attract pros from East Africa as well as Malawi.
The paper reported that KGU chairman Lucas Maranga advised the PGAMW to work together closely with KOGL and PGK to see whether Malawian pros can participate in the Safari Tour or the Kenya Open.
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.