HARBEL, Margibi – At any of the golf courses in Liberia, one is likely to see mostly expatriates or wealthy Liberians indulged in the sport.
Most of the players seen on the country’s golf courses – including Seaview Golf Club in Brewerville, Firestone Staff Club Golf Course in Harbel, and Wulki Farm in Careysburg – are not even professional golfers.
Golf occupies a place far behind football in the minds of Liberians, young and old. The sport faces a steep climb to being popular when even outside Liberia, it has generally been considered a game of the wealthy.
But one man is on a mission to change the perception of golf in the country. Jacob Smith, director of tournament for the Margibi County Golf Guru Organization, wants Liberians to avoid seeing golf as a sport that only belongs to the rich.
His organization is preparing to provide free training for Liberians who are interested in the sport.
“[Golf] is not only for rich people,” Smith said at a recent tournament his organization held at the Harbel Golf Course. “I listen to people saying that [golf] is [only] being played by ‘money people.’”
True to his statement of making the game more inclusive, the one-day tournament, referred to as the Margibi County Guru Open was free and included complementary tutorials.
The man who won the professional category of the Margibi County Golf Guru Open, Akoi Flomo, also buttressed Smith’s argument.
“I should not have been [a golfer] because I don’t even have my own car,” he added. Flomo, who has represented Liberia in golf competitions in other countries, challenged Liberians to use his case as an example to get interested in golf.
The Margibi County Golf Guru Organization was established in 2001 to popularize and promote golf in Liberia.
Liberia and the West African region, in general, has struggled to make a mark in golf. None of the world’s top 500 golfers are from West Africa and the West African Golf Tour, which began in 2015, does not even include Liberia among its locations.
Featured photo by Mohammed Bility