Sometimes we think that past interesting times will never cross our paths once again in life. This could be more of a myth than reality because all these are dictated by the different situations in which we live in.
Why would my locked up mind during this lockdown refer me to that?
In the early 90s, Late Alima William’s last bell for a normal school day at Arua Hill Primary School used to ring at 3:50pm. That provided us with about an hour to get ready to start trekking the golf course.
Of course as caddies.
The most significant thing was not the fact that we came across terms such as handicap, bogey, under par, bunker, putt….et al at an early stage more often than photosynthesis, crop rotation or soil erosion, but the plain fact of being a caddie to Darwin Dawa, Late Popo Micheal, Aritua Joel, Alekua Jaffer, Jachan Omach, Dramadri James and others was more prestigious.
Connections to each other were not based on education levels, tribes or wealth, BUT the sweet Club and a small round hard ball, usually white in color. Total obsession it was.
The major undoing was the lack of logistics to participate in national tournaments and this made the english word exposure to somehow lose its meaning. But that did not stop them from having representatives in the diaspora such as Late Francis Ayume, John Waigo, Dr. Eric Adriko, Late Martin Kego and Late Gad Wilson Toko, who lifted the Westnile flag high at all times.
By the start of the new millennium, dark times became usual as the golf club was only a joint for sharing a glass of water amongst a few good friends after a very hectic day.
Membership dwindled, lack of clear leadership struck, lack of funds, lack of equipment and poor management of the course all led to an apparent collapse of the golf club.
Then came in my caddies’ class of late 80s and early 90s who risked with a revival plan for the club.
Restoration of public confidence was key as major stakeholders had forgotten about the physical existence of the sport, rather than the physical existence of a forested golf course which provided habitat to all sorts of living things.
By around April of 2018, Light finally started to sneak from another angle.
A committee chaired by Matata Jimmy with Arima Emmanuel as the captain was set up and eventually became the main foundation to the current Westnile Golf Club. Inspirations from team work, transparency and effective leadership conquered them to have an interesting operational system.
A rapid drive by the likes of Anguzu Lino, Adiga Jimmy, Tom Aliti, Hon. Acidri James, Hon. Sunday Yorke Odria and others led to an increase in membership from 15 to 90 in a short period of time, installation of transparency and accountability among members, the enhancement of a perfect relationship with other Golf Clubs and most importantly with the Uganda Golf Union. How about the donation of a tractor by Eng. Olivu Charles?
At this level, my thoughts about the club having met standards were quashed by the vice chairman of the club, Matata Jimmy who promised to www.westnilesports.com that;
“We want to develop the game to international standards since Arua is now a city and this will have to move hand in hand with attraction and consolidation of more members and development of the course to higher standards”.
When asked about grassroots development since the game has an indifferent perception amongst the population, Matata said;
“We are in a serious drive to promote youth and women participation to achieve our objectives on gender. We had a successful back to school tournament for the underage that was sponsored by Droma Moses and Gordon Obitre-Gama and that justifies our objective about youth involvement in the sport”.
The Uganda Golf Tour Championship title last year was just a glimpse of the efforts the team had put together. With names such as Wendy Angudeyo, Hussein Alemiga, Yasin Boyi , Toko Mosh, Ismail Dalfodio and others within your ranks, you will not be called insane enough to think that the sky is the limit for Westnile golf.
On sponsorship deals since most of the golf clubs in the country have deals with the corporate world, Matata clarified that;
“We have had short term relationships with BRAC, UBA, Pepsi, Uganda Senior Golf Society, Uganda Tourism Board and Uganda Golf Union as tournament specific sponsors during the senior challenge and Uganda Golf Tour Championship though our major focus is to obtain long term sponsors for the club”.
On how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the activities of the golf club, Jimmy Adriko, the PRO of the club hinted this with regrets;
“We should have played an Invitational Tournament in memory of one of our members, Late Francis Ayume dubbed The Francis Ayume Memorial Open during the Easter weekend but we could not proceed due to the lock down. Our plan is to have this as an annual event with this year as the inaugural”.
Elections for several positions are held every December and reappointment into another term is primarily dependent on performance of the club during the tenure of the committee.
The current committee for 2020 as seen by www.westnilesports.com reveals the committee as listed below;
S/No. Name Position
- Gayo William Chairman
- Matata Jimmy Vice Chairman
- Matata Jonathan Secretary General
- Anguzu Patrick Treasurer
- Adriko Jimmy Publicity Secretary
- Ejiku Robert Team Captain
- Etoma Geofrey Vice Captain
- Akim Acidri Secretary,Bar and Entertainment
- Yasin Hussein Abiriga Secretary for other games
- Patricia Nakuya Secretary for Gender