20 September 2018

Nigeria: Over 160 Golfers Celebrate Okunbor @56

Kaydees, based in Edo State, and indeed Benin City is like McDonalds and Mr Biggs roll out burgers and fries, and the man behind it is Kingsley Ehi Okunbor. Like his peers, Okunbor grew up in Benin, precisely Iwehen and New Benin.

Well, during his 56th birthday, Okunbor cleverly put on ground a mega golf tourney at the Benin Golf Club. Over 160 golfers from across the nation showed up in the one-day event. Kaydees could not believe that a large chunk of those who participated in the event were from outside Benin.

They were captains of industry, even a revered preacher, Dr. Abraham Chigbundu was there.

"I just don't know I deserved that much," Okunbor admitted. "I know I can always thrive on my goodwill, but the love people showed on that day was beyond what I envisaged. You can see what golf can do for anyone. I can tell you I pull most of my great friends from the golf course. And if I tell you how I got into golf, you will roll on ground with laughter".

The first time Okunbor got in contact with golf, it was on television. Ever since, he got hooked. Not that he was playing. He merely loved to watch the game on telly.

It so happened he soon journeyed to America with his lovely wife, Bamidele, on vacation. While there, the couple visited a shopping mall where lots of golf equipment were on display. It was at this point his spouse bellowed: "Come and see the game you love to play on television. Why not buy the kit so you can play it properly". It was enough statement to move Kaydees. He instantly moved to the golf equipment section of the mall and beckoned on the sales staff.

"I saw so many golf kits ranging from 300 dollars to 2,000 dollars," Kaydees quipped. "I told the sales guy that those things looked alike. Why the difference in price? The man merely laughed and advised that I could pick the cheap ones since I was just going to be introduced to the game. He then prophesied that if I must have played for a little while, I would rush down for the costliest equipment. Well, I bought a middle range set. On getting back to Lagos, a good friend, Lekan Biobaku, properly introduced me to the game. He even signed my Guarantor's form before I became a member of the Ikoyi Golf Club and that was how I got sold".

Some golfers would stay a whole eternity before climbing down from 24 handicap to 20. Kaydees was just in the game for barely seven years when he was already playing off 9 handicap. How did he achieve such huge feat within such short period?

The man roared in laughter. When he was done, he said this: "I moved through fire and brimstone to climb the handicap ladder. I was always the odd one in a 'jamming-jamming' [course betting among players who could rip anyone apart]. If I tell you how much I lost to the likes of Afam Obanor, Sam Iredia, Mejuya Okorodudu, then you will appreciate while it took me such a little while to rise in the game. But it's indeed amazing. I mean it was Dr. Okorodudu who gave me my handicap when he was Captain of the Benin Golf Club. At a point, we both play 9 handicap... eyeball to eyeball, bone to bone". Interestingly, Okunbor, too, was Captain of the Benin Golf Club for three times.

On the secret behind his lofty game, Okunbor said: "I hit the ball very far. But once I miss my direction from the tee, I tell my caddy not to bother looking for the ball. And yes, I putt very well. Here in Benin, they know me as the best putter in the 'South-South'."

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