Zimbabwe set for Eisenhower Trophy

Zimbabwe Golf Association president Martin Chikwana (left) presents a shield to Champion of Champions winner David Amm

Zimbabwe is set to take part at the 33rd edition of the golf World Amateur Team Championship which is scheduled to take place at the National Course at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates in October.

The country has been a constant feature at the tournament, popularly known as the Eisenhower Trophy, which will run from October 18-21 this year.

Zimbabwe Golf Association president Martin Chikwana announced the country’s qualification for this year’s Eisenhower Trophy following the successful staging of the Zimbabwe Amateur Championship at Royal Harare last week.

United States-bound teenage golf star Michael Wallace who is likely to make the team for the 2023 World Amateur Team Championship won the local competition while Kudzai Mandava was the ladies champion.

Chikwana was delighted with the opportunity to have local golfers take part in the premier global amateur event.

“It a huge achievement not only for the players but also for the country to be able to have representation at such a marquee global event. It speaks a lot about where we have come from as a country in terms of producing players that can compete at the world stage. This event is more like the World Cup of golf and we are very proud to have qualified to take part in it,” Chikwana told Golf Zone in an exclusive interview.

“There will also be a congress which will be held on the side-lines of the World Amateur Team Championship and to be able to sit among the other 72 countries to make decisions for golf at a global scale is also humbling for us. We are looking forward to this competition and we can only hope that our team will be able to make us proud,” he added.

The team that will represent the country at the Eisenhower Trophy has not been selected yet but players such as Tariro November, Innocent Mukumba, Tanaka Chatora, Clive Muchenje and Wallace who are doing well on the order of merit are in contention for places in the team.

Each team at the Eisenhower Trophy has two or three players and plays 18-holes of stroke play for four days.

The total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for each round and the four-day (72-hole) total is the team’s score for the championship.

It is the first time the event, which was first held in 1958, will be held in the Middle East and it will also be the first time to be held with a reduced scope of one golf course and 36 teams to lessen the cost and complexity of hosting the event.

Chikwana expressed satisfaction at the growth of the sport in the country and believes some of the results of the programmes they have undertaken will show results in future.

“It takes a lifetime to develop proper golfers and results of what we are doing right now may begin to reflect in 10 or 15 years but every day we are trying to do all that we can to ensure golf is played at every level. We have a programme ‘Train the Trainer’ for primary school and ultimately, we want all primary school kids to have a go at golf,” he said.

“There is a lot of work and academies coming. There is one academy in Mutare which trains over 100 kids. Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) has put in resources in the form of golf bags for which we are targeting kids from ages 5-16 so with time we should be able to produce a number of top golfers.”

Added Chikwana: “The Zim Amateur Championships were very encouraging this year because three quarters of the 80 players who took part were under the age of 20. This shows that we are building a solid foundation. We also have a high-performance programme where we are going to expose 12 top juniors and six coaches to top golf facilitators from the region.”

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