HISTORY OF GOLF IN GHANA
Golf was introduced into the country (Gold Coast) by the early colonial administrators. They constructed Nine-Hole Golf courses mainly in Accra. Amateur Open Golf Championships were played and the records in the early 1920’s indicate the existence of a Beach Golf course at Christiansborg in Accra and the growth of Golf to other parts of the Country namely, Sekondi, Takoradi, Wineba, Kumasi and Achimota.
Ghana now has 16 Golf Clubs. These are predominantly in the Western Region at Takoradi, Benso, Obuasi, Bogoso, Damang, Samreboi, Tarkwa, Nsuta and the remainder dotted around the country at Achimota, Sakumono, Airforce Mess, Tema, Tafo, Kumasi, Elmina and New Abirim.
The number of Golf Courses have fluctuated and dwindled between 15 and 20 over the years since the 50’s. Some of these courses have since gone extinct, namely the Beach courses in Accra, others at Nsawam, Winneba, Cape Coast, Abosso, Prestea, Konongo and Akwatia.
A cursory examination will confirm that these facilities are mainly in Mining Towns and old colonial settlements.
Under listed are the current number of Golf courses in Ghana
|1||Achimota Golf Club||18 holes/Greens|
|2||Bok Nam Kim Golf Club||9 holes/Browns|
|3||Celebrity Golf Club||18 holes/Greens|
|4||Tema Country Golf Club||18 holes/Greens|
|5||Takoradi Golf Club||9 holes /Browns|
|6||Benso Golf Club||18 holes/ Greens|
|7||Tarkwa Golf Club||9 holes/ Greens|
|8||Obuasi Golf Club||9 holes/ Greens|
|9||Damang Golf Club||18 holes/ Greens|
|10||Damang Golf Club||18 holes/ Greens|
|11||Damang Golf Club||18 holes/ Greens|
|12||Tafo Golf Club||9 holes/ Greens|
|13||Royal Golf Club, Kumasi||18 holes/ Greens|
|14||Samreboi Golf Club||9 holes/Browns|
|15||Royal Golf Club, Kumasi||18 holes/ Greens|
|16||Ankobra Golf Club, Bogoso||9 holes/ Greens|
|17||Coconut Grove Golf Club||9 holes/ Greens|
|18||Nsuta Golf Club||9 holes/ Greens|
|19||Biege Golf Club||9 holes/ Greens|
The Kumasi Golf Club (now Royal Golf Club) tops all clubs when it comes to hosting since first hosting the Open in 1932 because of the 9 Hole Golf courses at the time; Kumasi provided the ideal and challenging setting. From1956, the hosting rotated between Achimota and Kumasi, but Tema entered the fray in 1979 and Celebrity in 1994.
The 2009 Tournament was hosted by the Tema Country Club and a review of the history shows that since 1952 when Takoradi hosted the event, the Open has eluded the Western Region over the past 48yrs. This Tournament was played in Damang Golf Club.
The Damang Golf Club is located at Abosso Goldfieds Limited, Damang Gold Mine in the Western Region of Ghana.
The initial competitors were open to Men only, with the Expatriate Community dominating. The first winner on record in 1930 was Capt. A. Mackenzie of V’Borg Club. The first Ghanaian to win the Ghana Open was Sam K. Appiah in 1963 but it was not until the 1970’s that David Abaloo won in 1971 and subsequently Ghanaians began to win, year in and year out. A lot of them progressed to be Professionals, namely, J. Dey, Y. Kwashie, W. Degbe, C. Quarshie, J. A. Kwashie, Yao Daniel, Effa Poku, S. Y. Anarfi. Nii Badu, F. C. Dzikunu, Amos Korblah and Baba Akologo.
Outstanding winners have been four (4) males, two of whom have won it four (4) times, J. E. Stewart (1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951) Walter Degbe (1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986) and two others who have won it three times, J. J. Coggin (1959, 1961, and 1962) and Ted Munn (1966, 1968, 1969) and Sam Appiah (1963, 1972, 1975).
The 2009 Champion was Francis Torgah of Royal Golf Club, Kumasi and the current Champion is George Osei of Takoradi Sports Club who returned gross 219 over 54 Holes to win at Damang Golf Club. Ladies participated for the first time in 1973, with Mrs Leticia Omaboe winning the inaugural Ladies event. Subsequently four (4) Ladies from Achimota have dominated the Ladies event, notably Grace Quartey, Sussie Abaloo, Mona Captain (now Mrs Myers-Lampety).
The only visiting winner has been Bessy Habermacher (nee Boateng) who entered from Kenya, playing to Handicap 2.
The 2009 and 2010 Ladies Event saw the emergence of a new champion, Grace Afriyie of Tema Country Golf Club who beat perennial winner, Mona Myers-Lamptey (2009 ) and Felicity Okyei Gyeabour ( 2010 )
The conduct of the tournament has changed with the Men’s events changing to 54 Holes since 1971 when David Abaloo won at Achimota.
The Ladies event has been vacillating between 36 and 54 Holes.
Since the 1970’s when the Ghanaians started winning, a lot of the talented winners turned Professional.
The first Ghanaian Amateurs to turn Professional was David Abaloo. The winners who have not turned Professional are notably G. K. Asante (1977 winner) E. M. Kwame (1998 winner).
The Professional event has always taken back stage at the Ghana Open therefore to improve the Professional Game the Ghana Professional Golfers Association set up the WAMCO Tour.
The Principle of this Tour sponsored by West Africa Cocoa Company of Takoradi was to oragnise Pros Ams, Golf Clinics and monthly Professional Events. As in all Professional Events, two Players, Amos Korblah and Victor Brave-Mensah excelled and won most of the Tournaments. Sponsorship has since lapsed.
Our Professionals have chalked successes internationally, with Amos Korblah being the first African to win the Nigeria Open, a Safari Tour Event that had been the monopoly of European Pros. Previous European Winners catapulted their careers to become World Champions e.g., Nick Faldo, Vijay Sigh.