Golfing in Lagos: some good shots and better shocks

Over the past 12 months I've been fortunate enough to play some of the best golf courses in the world ranging from St. Andrews to Muirfield, Carnoustie to Turnberry, and I don't want to forget Royal St. George's and Sunningdale. In my life I've played well over 1,000 rounds totaling more than 18,000 holes (I should mention I still don't have a hole-in-one). That being said, this weekend I had one of the funniest experiences happen to me on the course in Lagos. Ikoyi Golf Club is the best course in Lagos and some argue in all of Nigeria. Granted Nigeria is not known for their golf expeditions but that is quite the claim considering there is more than 130million people in the country. I turned up to the clubhouse without a tee time, no clubs, and only the name of one member (imagine doing that at Augusta or Muirfield). To the First Tee:
My Nigerian Golf Experience
Aug 7, 2006 - 8 Photos
I meet the caddy master in the parking lot and he gives me a head nod and said he'd take care of me. I gave him my handicap and he proudly said he'd 'get me a match.' Next thing I know I've shelled out 2,000 Niara for clubs and 3,500 Niara for my green fee (that is roughly about $50). I stroll to the first tee, 6 different caddies come up to me and give me their name. I still figuring out what was going on when the caddymaster assigned me a vetren caddy with 14 years experience - Julius. I took a look at my rental clubs - slightly dirty, well used, 1994 Lynx irons with an often-played Ping i driver. Not bad, I figured I was going to be using some Arnold Palmer blades or something. The Course: Not bad. First you have to remember I've been in an office for nearly 12 hours a day 5 days a week so just being outside was a blessing. The grass was similar to the crab grass style you find in Florida. Based on looks, the course was green, the greens looked smooth and the fairways were fine. After my first tee shot we strolled through the fairway and I asked my caddy if they 'rolled the ball' in the fairways. Sure enough they did. The fairways were patchy and not all cut but they served their purpose. The greens on the other hand ate my lunch. They looked smooth and fast but they were the slowest greens I've ever played on it. They might have been slower than the fairways at Muirfield. Every putt I had to hammer and I still only got 2 balls past the hole. Now, this isn't a normal course in the sense that is highly secure - walled around the entire course with barbed wire and protection at every point. The Shocker: So if you read this long you deserve to hear this story. After a few holes of chit chat with my caddy I learned he had worked there for 14 years, he had many sibilings and was engaged. He knew I was American studying in England and was married with no kids. Then on the 7th hole as we walked to the green he says "You want a Nigerian woman? You've got to have a Nigerian woman before you leave. I'll bring a good one to you." Wow! I've had a few caddying during my playing days that did about anything for you, but to offer that service ... wow. I told him no and then laughed. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe. By far the most shocking moment I've ever had on a golf course. The Score: I didn't play well to say the least. I two putted every green (not good considering I only hit a few greens in regulation). Finished with a 44, 43. Worst round in well over a year, but who cares. This was an experience.


Paul Rode said...

Truly brilliant! Taking golf to a new level.


Moruph Osuolale said...

You have written a very nice narrative essay,and easy to comprehend.
I am glad you had all this nice experiences.
I am a Nigerian myself but resides in the U.S.
I am thrilled by your good comments about your journey being appreciative of the fact that you are away from home and getting some LOVE.
Keep it up, all of you.

Moruph osuolale