Entries for the Kwara Open Golf Tournament have been limited to 100 participants by the organisers to ensure compliance with the government’s COVID-19 protocols.
This was disclosed by a former board member of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) and consultant/marketer for the event, Luqman Owolewa.
The former board member said the number of golfers registering online for the one-day event had increased but a decision was taken to restrict it.
Owolewa said the measure became imperative as having a full golf course would be counter-productive to efforts of the government in curbing the spread of the novel disease.
“By design, golf allows for easy compliance with social distancing but other measures that would limit contacts and promote hygienic practices during play have been put in place, even during the practice rounds,” Owolewa said.
“Kwara Open is a major event for us here and most golfers across the country have come to identify it as one trademark event and that is why it has such a huge following.”
The sixth edition of the Ilorin golf course, billed for Saturday, will feature players from the host club as well as those from Ibadan, Ekiti, Minna, Shagamu, Kaduna, Abeokuta, Tiger, Shiroro, Ikeja, and Ikoyi golf clubs, among others.
Top among players that practiced on the Ilorin course on Friday include Isaac Ishola, the proprietor of Hassabary Golf Club, Shaki; Tajudeen Oladipo, former commissioner for works, Osun state; and Gani Elelu Sanni, managing director of Northern Nigeria Investment Limited, Kaduna.
Meanwhile, Dele Arowolo, director of OPAS Nigeria Limited, one of the co-sponsors of the event, has also arrived in the ancient town.
This year’s edition, which would be judged over 18 holes, is sponsored by the Kwara state government in partnership with Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KW- IRS), Noktel Resort and Hotel, Femtech, a renowned IT company, and OPAS Nigeria limited.
Ray Okafor, captain of the club, said earlier in the week that the Ilorin golf course had been put in good shape ahead of the weekend’s activities while stating that participants would be expected to observe all COVID-19 protocols as highlighted by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In 2019, Ibrahim Usman, better known as ‘Attai’, had won the amateur category of the event while Sunday Olapade of MicCom Golf Club, Ada won the professional category.