They say the morning mirrors the day and that a youngster shows what he would become in future by his early strides. And such is the excitement flowing at the Ibadan Golf Club (IGC), where 11-year-old Jubril Akande has stolen the imagination of they members through his rapid development in the game.
Akande is a product of IGC’s Grassroots Golf Development Drive, which is focused on discovering and building youngsters into prolific golfers. Among the many prospects in the programme, Akande, who is a junior secondary school student, has shown signs that he would become a great professional golfer if he continued in the current lane.
Exited by the promise shown by Akande, IGC’s immediate past captain, Col. Ade Sunmonu, said the boy is a good product of the programme designed for beginners to learn not only the basic golf fundamentals and full swing, but also golf etiquette, which is an essential part of the game.
“Akande is really making us proud… he has proven to the world that our kids can also do well in golf and not in football alone, if well tailored towards the path. “He has represented IGC in Lagos and Abuja and returned with laurels,” said the retired Army officer.
Also thrilled by Akande’s rising profile in the game, Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) President, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola described him as a future Tiger Woods owing to his speedy progression in golf.
“Reasons why juniors should play golf: it will help them enjoy the outdoors, develop lifelong friendships, practice personal responsibility, have a safe place to play, learn to manage their emotions, appreciate diversity, pick up the game quickly, learn etiquette, spend time with family and develop healthy habits for life.
“I always like to see Akande play; it gives me hope that soon we can also have a world beater in the professional cadre of golfing, considering the level of his improvements and how passionate he is about the game of golf,” the former Osun State governor said.
While explaining how the boy fell in love with golf, his father, Bashiru Akande, told The Guardian that his older son drew him to the game and made him register to become member of Ibadan Golf Club seven years ago.
“I and my son (Jubril Akande) came to do something in the neighborhood of IGC and we enter the club to eat, and before I could notice I saw Jubril, who was just four years old then, following golfers that were playing around from fifth hole to the 18th hole. And since then, he started urging me to take him back to the golf course. That was how I inquired to register as member.
“Previously a shy boy, since he started golf, Jubril has been demonstrating interest in going out into nature, being outdoors, instead of playing video games all the time, has more friends and is developing a strong sense of integrity and playing by the rules.
“And I’ve learnt to see the sport from another angle: as a tool to unleash my kids’ hidden passions, teach them discipline and offer them the chance to build lifelong friendships, while I secretly hope that it may also make them superstars one day,” Bashiru Akande, a popular fashion designer on Ring Road axis of Ibadan noted.
Akande, who always celebrates his birthday every April 21 with a golf kitty for the past six years at Ibadan Golf Club, has vowed to pursue his passion for golf to the top level and become a professional golfer. He said, “I played football and basketball in school but I prefer golf ahead of the two. I want to become famous like Tiger Woods in golf when I grow up.”
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