Golf in Cayman is flourishing, judging by the turn out last weekend.
Almost 100 players competed in the Cayman Islands Golf Association’s Annual Pairs tournament.
It was sponsored for the first time by First Caribbean Bank.
This has traditionally been one of the most popular events on the golfing calendar organised by the Association but this year’s entry broke the record books for a CIGA event.
The Pairs tournament consisted of teams of two golfers (all men, all ladies, mixed, adult and junior combinations) playing a better ball format over 18 holes at the North Sound Club.
Despite blustery conditions, the scoring on the day was generally excellent with the popular winners being George Christie, a former member of the Cayman Islands national golf team, and partner Dan Anderson with a terrific score of net 61, a phenomenal 10 under par.
This was despite bogeys on two of the easiest holes on the course where neither player could make a par.
Runners up were Cary Marr and Norm McGregor with a net 63; third place Russell Linford and Sean Ladley (64) on a countback from fourth Stephen Duval and Siobhan Ribbins (64); fifth Emily Ribbins (the leading junior girl on the island) and Joel Dodson (65).
The low gross score of 67 was recorded by Michael and Philip Wight and a Special Turkey Prize went to Robert Ebanks and Monica Czorny (net 78).
Junior Golf Development is a priority for CIGA.
Alongside organising member competitions, CIGA has also been working very closely with the NSC Director of Golf, Kevin Mumford and assistant pro Jason March over the past few months to re-establish a coordinated junior programme for the first time since Hurricane Ivan.
This programme is open to all juniors aged over eight and is conducted in three ability rated groups on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Recruitment for the first sessions was very encouraging with around 40 juniors of varying age and ability taking part.
Golf is an exceptional participation sport for juniors and in addition to introducing them to a sport they can enjoy for many decades to come golf also teaches a wide range of life skills and values – the objectives of the First Tee junior programme in the USA is to introduce youngsters to the core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgement.
The early indications from Cayman’s junior programme are encouraging and new talent is already emerging with the likes of Payton Wight following in his father Michael’s multi-talented sporting footsteps by winning the junior championship at the recent NSC Club Championships.
The winter season’s junior coaching programme actually concludes this week but spring season coaching will commence again early in the New Year.
CIGA was established in 1992 and is a non profit making organisation manned by volunteers who are all committed to encouraging the growth of golf in the Cayman Islands.
Through the year CIGA organises a number of competitions for its 250 members, many of whom are also members of the NSC or Britannia.
The next CIGA competition is at the NSC and is the first round of the 2009 National Team Qualifiers on Saturday, 10 January.
This is a six round qualifying tournament which culminates with the Island Championships in May and is used as the basis for selecting the teams to represent the Cayman Islands in the 2009 Island Games in June and also at the 2009 Caribbean Amateur Golf Association Championships in August.
This event is followed by a regular monthly stableford points tournament co-organised by CIGA and the NSC to be held on Saturday 17 January and then by the CIGA President’s Trophy, another of the most popular events on the golfing calendar, on Saturday 31 January.
The North Sound Club, which also hosted the immensely successful 2008 Caribbean Amateur Golf Association Championships in August, played an ever helpful role in the success of this weekend’s Pairs event providing a course in great condition and the able assistance of the two professionals, Mumford and March.
Paul Woodhouse, vice-president of CIGA, said: ‘On behalf of the many resident and visiting golfers on the island, CIGA wishes to thank Michael Ryan, the owner of the NSC, and Davy Ebanks, the General Manager of the Club, for their continuing efforts to bring the sport of golf to the community of the Cayman Islands.’
For more information about future CIGA events, membership enquiries, contact Judy van Liere, the newly elected CIGA President ([email protected] or 516 8296) or Bob Slatter (CIGA Treasurer – [email protected] or 926 0368).