By Richard Animam
The history of Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria (PGAN) can not be complete without the mention of the Fantastic Four. These players practically paved the way for what is today enjoyed by over 140 professional golfers enlisted in the books of PGAN.
The quartet- Patrick Okpomo, Festus Makelemi, Emmanuel Lawrence and Jamiu Oyebajo were the first Nigerians to play professional golf outside the shores of Nigeria.
The quartet was sponsored to different part of Europe were they were trained by various top class professional golfers. Upon return from Europe, they began to preach the gospel of golf and helped established some golf clubs were they equally trained amateur golfers.
Today, the PGAN boasts of over 140 members with professionals from other fields enlisting as members. The association turned 40 last week and it was marked with a grand 40th tournament which also served as the Tour card event. Virtually all the professionals made to MicCom Golf and Country, Ada in Osun State, venue of the tournament.
One of the highlights of the occasion was the award to the Founding Four who made professional golf in Nigeria what it is today. Three of them- Makelemi, Okpomo and Oyebajo were presented with award while Emmanuel Lawrence who passed on last year was given a post humours award.
Delta State based resident professional of Shell/Ogunu Golf Club Makelemi was excited about the awards. â€œI had an event in Asaba but I had to be in Ada for this award. I am happy that we are being remembered and it shows that our efforts were not in vainâ€, he said.
Ikeja Golf Club resident pro Oyebajo who is the head of the PGAN Committee was equally delighted with the award and lauded the PGAN for a job well done.