St. David Mark Golf Academy aims to become Africa’s hub

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The managers of St David Mark Golf Academy and Country Club, Akpegede, Benue State, say their aim is to make the institution the sport’s hub in Africa.

Smarting from their feats at the just-conclude Awa Ibrahim Junior Golf Open Championships in Lagos, the Head Coach, Joseph Harvey, said on Wednesday that necessary logistics to achieve that were in place.

Harvey told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the four-year-old already had a syllabus for the training of young golfers.

NAN reports that the academy is sponsored by a golf enthusiast and former Senate President, David Mark, for the less privileged that
are desirous of playing golf.

The academy, a 20-hole golf course, established in 2012, is already making its mark as the sport’s leading academy as exhibited at the just-concluded Awa Ibrahim Junior Golf Open Championships.

The academy produced a superlative display to the admiration of spectators where its young golfers won 12 of the 15 medals available at the championships.

The academy in all, won five gold medals on offer, four silver and three bronze medals.

Harvey said that the result from the championships was expected due to the hard work of the academy’s golfers.

“They have the right exposure to the game; they merit being champions. The academy gave them much of what was expected of them and some are on scholarships.

“Going by the vision of the academy, we hope to become a well-respected golf academy and the hub of the game in Africa in the next three years.

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“The academy is now four years old and the students are finding it very easy now but it was not so when we started.

“We have to borrow the golf kits around when we started but now those kits are free,’’ he told NAN.

On the academy’s challenges, Harvey said that the uncooperative attitude of some parents was hindering the development
of the youth.

“Golfing is relatively new to the people of Otukpo, Akpegede and environs when we started, so, we need the parents’ consent for their children to be available for training.

“It is a little bit hard getting parental support because some of them don’t understand what golf is. It took the intervention of the
owner, David Mark to create more awareness.

“But for those who allowed their kids, we are already seeing the results. Mark pledges scholarships for the children as a means of
encouraging them in the sport and education.

“The school pays their scholarships and they in turn stay in school. We have about 500 students now in the school and we train twice
a week,’’ he said.

Harvey said that the academy had a short term plan to achieve its vision of making sure that professional golfers graduated from the school.

“We are currently on a short term module for training the kids because we want some that are adults to grab the skills fast.

“We have two categories, one for the adults and the other for the kids from age 5 to 14.

“And we train them through our `Catch-Them-Young’ programme until they becomes professional golfers. The target duration is three years,’’ he said.

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