Asantehene Open Golf Championship Kicks Off With Majestic Tee-Off Ceremony
The 66th Asantehene Open Golf Championship was inaugurated with a ceremonial tee-off by the King of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and other dignitaries at the Royal Golf Park in Kumasi on Friday, June 16.
At the event were personages including the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Simon Osei Mensah, Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ibok-Ete Ibas and Zimbabwean Ambassador to Ghana, Kufa E. Chinoza.
International professional golfers from Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe were also present.
The formal opening was marked by a flag-raising ceremony conducted by a contingent from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), followed by initial photography sessions with the professional players and sponsors, and culminating in a tee-off.
It saw the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ibok-Ete Ibas, Chairman of the Management of Royal Golf Club, Kwesi Atta Antwi, Chief of Manso Nkwanta Traditional Area, Nana Bi-Kusi Appiah and the Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Mrs Patricia Obo-Nai joining the King for the ceremonial tee-off.
Three holes were played by the dignitaries.
The tournament began on June 14.
In an exclusive interview, Mr Atta Antwi hailed this year’s tournament which has Vodafone Ghana as the headline sponsor as extraordinary.
He explained the tournament which is organized by the Royal Golf Club in honour of the King of the Asante Kingdom has over 300 goffers participating including about 46 international golfers.
“We have about 15 international professional female goffers here for this year’s tournament. In total, about 46 international professionals are partaking. In all, we have over 300 golfers.”
The tournament will end on Saturday, June 17 after which Asantehene will hold the participants to a treat at Lancaster Hotel.
Mr Atta Antwi used the opportunity to dispute the notion that Golf is for the rich and encouraged the youth to join the sport noting it is a form of exercise for the body.
Other sponsors of the tournament include GTS Drilling, Vanguard Assurance, CalBank, Multichoice Group, Guinness Ghana, and Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans.
About The Tournament
The Asantehene Amateur Golf Tournament known as the Asantehene Open Championship was first played in 1955 in honour of the Asantehene. The first tournament was won by Mr Justice L.C. Lingley.
In the early years of the tournament, it was dominated by expatriates who at that time formed the bulk of the membership of the club and generally golfers in the country. The expatriate dominance was broken in 1963 when S. K. Appiah won the first of his seven championships.
Though S. K. Appiah successfully defended the trophy in 1964 the expatriate dominance continued until after the 1974 tournament which was won by Mr. J. C. Ryan.
Ghanaians have dominated the championship ever since. This is because of a membership drive for Ghanaian members and the gradual popularity of the game among Ghanaians all over the country.
During the prize-giving ceremony in 1999, the year Barima Kwaku Dua then enstooled as Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was presented with a set of golf clubs by Ghana Breweries Limited then the sponsors of the tournament.
In 2000, Otumfuo promised to replace the winner’s running trophy so the 2000 winner Peter Korsah of Takoradi won the trophy for keeps. The new trophy was first won by Kojo Barnni of the Royal Golf Club, Kumasi and he defended the trophy successfully in 2002.
Only five (5) golfers have successfully defended the trophy – S. K. Appiah (1963, 1964). W. Degbe (1982, 1983), Kofi Nimako (1992, 1993), James Larry (1995, 1996) and Kojo Barni (2001, 2002).
In 2009, MTN signed a 5-year title sponsorship agreement with the club. This continued until 2017 when another Telcom giant Vodafone took over the title sponsorship with an initial 5-year agreement which has since been extended for another 5 years ending in 2026.
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