Segun Oyinlola is the Captain, Ilorin Golf Club. In this interview
with MIKE ADEYEMI, he speaks on the development of golf in Kwara State
as well as the need in schools’ for the state government to include
the game curriculum. Excerpts:
What led to your emergence as Ilorin Golf Club captain?
It is not an automatic ticket. There is a criteria to follow. Before
you can become a captain, you must have been a member of the club for
sometimes. You must know the etiquette, and the rules of the game. To
be a captain, you must be an handicap, at least a lowest handicap.
Handicap shows how good you are. The lower your handicaps, the better
So, all these determine who emerges as captain. Also, you have to be a
social person. You have to be known, because it undergoes a democratic
What informed your interest in Golf?
Well. It is not easy to convince anybody to get involved in golf.
Initially, I thought golfing is a game for lazy people, but I have a
friend in the UK who plays golf often.
I thought he was just wasting his time going into golf. Once he
convinced me to try the game. I did, but I couldn’t hit the ball the
way I like it. Next day, I tried again and I was able to hit the
holes. I later realised that golf is the best game in the world.
Reason being that it is very addictive, very good health-wise and
business-wise too. It is a game for the elites, not a game for the
poor. Because at anytime you go play, at least you’ll spend money.
It’s unlike other sports that you can just walk in and play. So it’s a
How would you describe the development of Golf in Kwara State?
To a certain level, we haven’t reached the calibre of people that we
want to encourage to play the game. If you notice, most of our members
in Ilorin Golf Club are elderly people.
So this is what is discouraging some people. They see it as the game
for the old, so they relaxe which is not good.
The old people are involved in golf mostly because of the nature of
the game. You don’t have to do rigorous exercise to be healthy. Like a
game of golf, at least anytime you play a round of 18 holes, it takes
a minimum of 3 to 4 hours. Within that time, you would have covered a
distance of 10 kilometers of walking and you exercise the whole body.
The awareness of the game in Kwara is still low. But we have taken
some steps to let people know more about the game. We have a Golf
Academy now in Kwara initiated by the immediate past governor of Kwara
State, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, though it’s still at the formative
Just last week too, the golf association in the state invited school
pupils within age bracket of 9 to 15, primarily to catch them young.
We believe this will attract many people to the game.
In what way do you think Kwara State government can promote the game of golf?
In a nutshell, I think not only in the state, but the Nigeria as a
whole. People don’t see golf as a common sport. They believe it meant
only for the rich people, which is a very wrong notion.
My advice is that government needs to see it like other sports.
Football is a sport, hockey is a sport. Golf should also be treated as
one. Whatever provision government makes for other sports should also
be made available for golf.
Golf needs to be included in the school curriculum. The Kwara State
Government should recognise golf at the sports ministry.
Golf is not just a sport for the rich, it is a career. Without the
support of the Kwara State government, Ilorin Golf Club can’t survive.
In fact, Ilorin Golf Club was established by State former
administrator of Col. Ibrahim Taiwo.
Since then, each administration in the state have seen the golf club
as theirs. It is still a Kwara government property. The government can
also use the golf club as source of income in the form of tourism.
During the last Kwara at 50 anniversary, all the hotels in the state
were booked by the people that came to participate in the golf
tournaments. So if well harnessed, it will increase the Internally
Generated Revenue of the state.
How would you rate Ilorin Golf Club among others in Nigeria?
If I’m to rate Ilorin Golf Club, I will rank it 5th in the country.
More so, our club house is between 1st to 4th in Nigeria. Ilorin Golf
Club is on the global map. It is known and recognised by all the golf
clubs in Nigeria. Ilorin is actually a golf destination in the
What plans are on ground by the golf club to harness grassroots
participation in the game?
Last week, Kwara Golfer Association went to secondary schools to talk
to them and also government parastatals like local government, all in
a bid to let people know the importance of golfing to come and play
but to take it a carrier.