By Thomas Odongo
The 2022 Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open was officially launched on Thursday at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa, Kigo. The exercise was graced by representatives from Uganda Golf Union, Uganda Ladies Golf Union, the host club (Serena Kigo) and sponsor representatives.
Junior golfers will open the way on Saturday, 1st October in their own event dubbed Uganda Juniors Open. Players aged 6 to 18 years will be in the mix in the Pepsi backed event.
Later, five events will be played from 6th to 29th October, that is; Ladies Open (6th-8th), Seniors Open (14th-15th), Amateur Open (19th-22nd), Pro-Am (25th) and Professional Open (26th-29th).
Jackson Were who is the Tournament Director says that everything is set for proceedings to get underway but he adds that the Uganda Golf Open is a very important event.
“A tournament like this offers a significant benefit of tourism to the country since we shall have golfers coming from around the world,” Were said adding that each category will have participants from across the region and beyond.
Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) through the Tusker Malt Lager beer brand are lead sponsor and have committed UGX600M (Six Hundred Million Shillings) towards the month-long showpiece.
Daniel Kalungi who is the Divisional sales Manager Kampala, Uganda Breweries Limited said that UGX100M of their sponsorship package is the kitty for the professionals.
“I hope that our local professionals will also win some of this money. I have seen them practicing here and I believe they will do well,” Kaungi said adding that they will continue sponsoring the tournament.
Director of Golf at the comely Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa, Theo Van Rooyen said that since they last hosted the Uganda Golf Open in 2019, a lot has improved in the facility and golfers will have a good experience.
“From 2019 to 2022, it’s a lot of maturity. We got more experience, it’s the same as growth. We really know what to expect,” Theo said adding that; “we had some challenges during Covid-19 where we had some flooding on the course but the main aim was to ensure that that can be restored to offer all golfers the best possible experience .”
Absa Bank Uganda has injected UGX200M into the tournament, that is according to Herbert Olowo, the bank’s head of Operations, and Information Technology.
In addition to the initial UGX50M sponsorship package, the Bank will spend UGX93M towards the Absa Pro-Am tournament of the Open to be held on 25th October.
Furthermore, UGX65M has been committed to sponsor 10 qualifying players to take part in the 2023 Magical Kenya Open – with priority given to qualifying professionals.
However, ULGU President Anne Abeja noted that foreign players will grace next week’s ladies competition but believes that the local ladies will do their best.
The lead sponsor of the tournament is Tusker Malt. Co-sponsors/partners are; Pepsi, Case Medical Care, Absa Bank, HK Properties including NBS Sport.
2021 Uganda Golf Open winners
*Ladies: Irene Nakalembe (UG)
*Amateurs: Joseph Cwinya-ai (UG)
*Professionals: Jastas Madooya (KE)