KAMPALA. It pays to have great ambassadors, and Ugandan golf can stand surety to the claim.
This has been more apparent in the last decade but has been more pronounced and consistent in the last two years.
In mid-2016, scratch golfer Titus Okwong landed a scholarship to pursue a career in golf and undertake a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the Livingstone College, North Carolina in the US.
This was partly thanks to US-based Ugandan professional golfer Willy Deus Kitata, a beneficiary of the same himself.
It is because of Kitata’s connections that Okwong got links to American scouts at National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA).
SA to US, the perfect transition
It is also such a beautiful conduit that Okwong, through his friend and golf enthusiast in American Mac Stevenson, that other Ugandans have landed the same opportunity.
As you read this, Ugandan three-time Amateur champion Ronald Otile has started his term of study at Livingstone College, North Carolina in the US.
He will be followed by fellow Tooro Golf Club-bred Daniel Baguma mid-this year, this one enrolling for business and the game at Alabama State University.
“Titus impressed both in academic and golf and coaches were in awe of him,” Baguma told Daily Monitor at Tooro Club House.
“But then Titus told them and his American golfing friend Mac Stevenson that ‘if you thought I play golf, there are boys back home who play real golf.
“That is how he connected me and Otile. But we had to be good both academically and at the game. For them education is first priority.
“The good thing is we were already on this program in South Africa so it helped us a lot in getting the scholarships.”
Both Otile and Baguma have just completed a PGA Diploma in South Africa and what a way to transition to the global heart of the game!
The two are some of the most exciting talents in the country, both having played together in the national team juniors and seniors, with Otile winning three of the last four national amateur titles.
“Looking back,” Otile told Daily Monitor before flying out of the country for his first semester that started on January 4, “I couldn’t have asked for more.
“I have to say that it has been down to discipline and consistency. I could turn pro while there, you never know.”
The two were given partial scholarships and the Uganda Golf Union and Tooro Golf Club came in with top-ups and upkeep while in the US.
Otile and Baguma are not strangers on the US greens having played on invitation at the 2017 and 2018 US Amateur qualifiers.
More of such and other tournaments await the pair, who dream of playing pro golf on the international scene.