UTB partners with golfers to promote golf tourism

By Edwin Muhumuza
The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has launched a partnership with the Uganda Gold Union(UGU) in a bid to position Uganda as Africa’s premier golf tourism destination.

This partnership begins with the sponsorship of the Uganda Gold Open Tour set for the 30th March until the 14th of September 2019.

Outgoing UTB, CEO, Steven Asiimwe says the signing of the agreement is to highlight the impact that the sport has on tourism directly and indirectly.

‘Today was the culmination of the discussions that started four years ago. We want the golfers to go beyond the golf course and go have an experience in every tour that they go. Golfers do not travel alone, they are people of influence ,who travel with their families, and if they(UGU) went beyond the 18 holes they could influence other holes.’ he said.

The Uganda Golf Union has always wanted UTB to sponsor some of their tournaments but UTB demanded for the benefits beyond mere sponsorship to include marketing Uganda as a top golf tourism destination.

According to Asiimwe, Uganda is uniquely placed for both the domestic and international golfer and in every town, golf courses are within the vicinity of an experience. In Mbale , one is in eye distance shot of Wanale and Mt. Elgon, rich in many waterfalls. In Kihihi, there is even an airfield next to it, among others.

‘We want to attract many golfers from neighboring countries, we are fortunate to be in some of the shortest travel distance for golfers’, Asiimwe added

The Uganda Golf Union President ,Innocent Kihika noted that golf and tourism do move together because when one goes out for a round of golf, they have to travel, find accommodation, buy meals, locate where to get refreshments, and where to lounge again and all these have economic impact on the communities.

The agreement is expected to last three years and for the first year the Golf Union will receive fifty million shillings.

According to statistics an estimated 5 to 10% travel worldwide with the sole purpose of playing golf and this number is steadily increasing and on a global scale, golf contributes about $20billion annually and by itself is able to attract millions of holiday makers across the world and Uganda is properly located, with friendly weather all year round to accommodate such visitors.

The Uganda golf championship will see golfers visit Mbale, Namulonge, Jinja, Entebbe, Mbarara, Fort Portal among other locations.

American golf icon Arnold Palmer dies at 87

American golf legend Arnold Palmer has died in Pittsburgh at the age of 87.

Palmer, one of golf’s greatest players whose immense popularity drew a legion of fans known as “Arnie’s Army” and helped propel the game just as television was coming of age, died on Sunday, the US Golf Association and golf media reported.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador, at age 87,” the USGA said on Twitter.

The swashbuckling American and seven-time major champion is credited with bringing golf to the TV mass audiences.

No one did more to popularise the sport than Palmer and the news of his passing is certain to overshadow the 41st staging of the Ryder Cup between the US and Europe at Hazeltine this week.

British golf owes a particular debt to Palmer, who was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, as it was his example at the start of the Sixties which persuaded the rest of the Americans to travel over for The Open Championship.

Palmer, who won 95 tournaments worldwide, was nicknamed “The King” and was still a huge figure in the sport. Residing at Bay Hill in Orlando – where he staged his annual PGA Tour tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational – his health had been failing for months. However, his death will be so keenly felt for a game still in his thrall.

“Arnold is the reason golf enjoys the popularity it does today,” Jack Nicklaus said. “He made golf attractive to the television-viewing public. There never has been anyone like him before in the game of golf, and there probably won’t be another like him again.”

“We loved him with a mythic American joy,” James Dodson, who wrote his biography, said. “He represented everything that is great about golf. The friendship, the fellowship, the laughter, the impossibility of golf, the sudden rapture moment that brings you back, a moment that you never forget, that’s Arnold Palmer in spades. He’s the defining figure in golf.”

President Barack Obama and former president George HW Bush were among the many notable names to weight in on the death of the icon.

 

-Telegraph