ZIMBABWE finished second out of twelve countries at the Zone VI championships held at Devonvale Golf Estate in Cape Town, South Africa.
Hosts South Africa retained the trophy they have now won the event 19 times since 1995. Twelve countries participated in the event.
The format is matchplay and players play two singles matches, one better-ball and one foursomes. Zimbabwean Stuart Krogg and Jack Allard dealt South Africa a crushing blow when they ended South Africa’s unbeaten run at the championships after winning their better-ball match to give South Africa their only defeat of the tournament.
Among the countries which participated, Zimbabwe were the only ones to have given South Africa any real challenge of the two matches played against South Africa. Zimbabwe won one and lost the other on the final hole.
Mozambique received the wooden spoon after only drawing one match of the twenty four matches they played. The final log standings were as follows:
23 pts South Africa
19 pts Zimbabwe
15,5 pts Namibia
14,5 pts Swaziland
13 pts Kenya
12 pts Malawi
11,5 pts Mauritius
9 pts Zambia; Uganda
8,5 pts Lesotho; Botswana
0,5 pts Mozambique.
I had the opportunity to travel with the eight-man team and had the chance to see the different levels which golf is at across the countries in Zone VI.
For many of the players it was their first time being involved in an international event and this awarded them an opportunity to showcase their talent and compare it to other golfers in the region.
The games provided all the players necessary experience of international competition. Outside South Africa and Zimbabwe none of the other participating countries have had any golfers ranked in the world’s top twenty.
What was interesting to note was that countries like Lesotho and Swaziland which are both completely surrounded by the golfing powerhouse in Africa — South Africa — had completely different performances with Swaziland finishing fourth and Lesotho coming 11th.
This probably points to the fact that there is not enough sharing of ideas and strategies among neighbouring countries who participated.
If South Africa can produce numerous world-class golfers, surely their neighbours should make an effort to see what structures the successful golfing nations are using and then try implementing those in their respective countries.
The next Zone VI golf championships will be held next year in Uganda and contrary to popular belief Uganda has a very strong golfing culture and the country boasts more than 15 golf courses.