If there is something to think about over the holidays to add some perspective to whatever problems one might having, it is the worsening situation in Zimbabwe ("Zimbabwe's Plight," Bunker, Golf World Dec. 26). I didn't hear from golf professional Tim Price, Nick's older brother, in time to include anything from him in the piece I wrote for the printed magazine, but I subsequently got an email from him in response to some questions about life and golf in the African nation.
Tim Price writes:
"Today in Zimbabwe, daily life is increasingly tedious and burden filled. For many, the coping mechanism is desperation, and it is truly only hope and faith that remain.
"In the golf arena, there is a diminishing opportunity to provide and be provided. Less than a handful of golf clubs only in Zimbabwe, are capable of sustaining a level, once expected. To maintain a standard of a golf course and club, with an ever reduced number of members is virtually impossible. Together with the fact that we have the highest ever, spiraling inflation in world history, creates greater strangulations. Golf still offers the opportunity though, to 'bury your head in the sand', and to get away from life's problems, the wonder-filled game that it is! No different to elsewhere on the planet!
"My commitment has been to soldier on, but, boy is it tough — and it intensifies!! No exaggeration â¿¿
"In most cases, at least half of the once 70-plus courses have the chance of revival, should settled times return. However, the demise of Harare South Golf & Country Club [where Price used to be based], was somewhat different. A targeted destroyal of a once thriving operation. The new land recipients in the surrounding area, bitterly eager to see my personal removal, (regardless of what my family's sheer act of goodwill was), succeeded. At times, it was genuinely a death defying act for us, and we committedly endeavored, prolonging the final agony -- in the hopes that sanity would somehow prevail. To see a way forward or even to visualize the uncluttered efforts that my wife and I had futilely dedicated ourselves to, in just keeping the wonderful established 75-year-old country venue alive in such a hugely hostile environment, was not on their agendas.
"The club is now totally ruined, beyond recovery!! The once magnificent cricket field which for a decade or more, had hosted every international touring teams on the world ICC rota during their visits to this country, is simply piled soil with no semblance of a cricket pitch even ... the golf course is unrecognizable.
"In that time we were there, I personally funded and established a small golf school with some budding talent. Zimbabwe, as a country, remains unquestionably, unsurpassed in the ratio of the world's top golfers it has produced. When you see the continued quality performances of our home grown Nick, Denis Watson and Mark McNulty on The Senior Tour in America -- not forgetting Simon Hobday, your former U.S. Senior Open champion -- people's eyes must be wide open to say Zimbabwe has been something of a haven for producing the very best golfers, on this planet! It is an amazing fact.
"I have my own belief that a certain chemistry remains, that has produced these levels of world class players over the years. In other sports we still command a presence have reigning world No. 1's in tennis and swimming -- Cara Black (Women's Doubles Tennis) and Kirsty Coventry (Swimming). All of this is a remarkable story in itself.
"My work has been on keeping that tradition alive! At Borrowdale Brooke, where I am presently based, I have a youth programme that is yearning for international support. I have released two new prospects in the form of Tongoona Charamba and Robson Saurombe. Tongo finished 25th in The European Tour co-sanctioned Dunhill Championships in South Africa, having won the prestigious Namibian Open the week before. Robson starts his professional campaign outside of this country, early next year, having been ranked second here for 2008. Of particular note is the emergence of Brendan De Jonge, who has just attained full playing privileges on the U.S. PGA Tour.
"As much as we operate in ever decreasing circles, there is still a belief that change will come ..."
-- Bill Fields