ARUA. Mr David McCunnall, an 80-year-old Scottish national still has fond memories of the fun of golf he last played at the Arua golf course 55 years ago.
“It is lovely and wonderful that the golf course of Arua is still here because I have had other couple of days in Gulu but the golf course there is gone,” an excited Mr McCunnall said.
Mr McCunnall, returned to the golf arena this week as part of a tour of the West Nile region and Uganda, retracing his movements when he worked as an agricultural officer in 1950s and 1960s.
He says golf was the main evening sport activity during his working days.
“We used to finish work at 4 O’clock and go home to have some tea and be back ready to play golf from 5 O’clock to 7 O’clock here at Arua golf course,” he told West Nile Web in an interview at the West Nile golf club in Arua town on Thursday.
The octogenarian first played golf in Gulu for three months before he was transferred to Arua in 1961.
He continued with the game up to 1963 when he returned to his family in Scotland.
“I think in Uganda, I just played golf in Gulu and Arua only, a reason I’m extremely happy to return to Uganda to find the Arua golf course still existing,” Mr McCunnall said satisfactorily.
The Scott said in the early 1960s, Arua golf club had 50 to 60 members of which majority were Colonial officials who loved the game so much.
The Arua golf ground was the main socializing place and the golf club was where the whites would have time at especially after work.
However, Mccunnal is not happy with today’s notion that golf is a game for the old and wealthy people arguing that it is a wonderful chance for young people to consider playing golf for exercise.
His revelation prompted Mr Darwin Dawa, an old golfer in Arua to quip that the golf course is the place that generates all the fresh air breathed by government officials in Arua.
“If you come around saying you want to bring a market here given all the benefits of this ground, I doubt whether you are a real planner. We pray that such interference is not going to be entertained,” said Mr Dawa.
He discouraged destruction of the environment through the giveaway of golf courses since they are a protection to the environment.
“Golf course is an asset and it promotes good environment, it saves the world from dangers but if in Arua we want to kill ours by bringing in so called commercial enterprises, then I’m sorry for the future,” Mr Dawa said.
This was in reference to moves by Arua municipality officials last year where they had wanted to move the central market to the golf course and the new one is being constructed but the project was bitterly rejected the golf club members and concerned members of the public.
As a golf caddie at Arua golf course, Mr Louis Jowett Aritua, 81, recalls how he used to run after Mr McCunnall and others when they played golf in Arua.
Sometimes the likes of Mr McCunnall would switch roles by allowing caddies to play while they curried the club bags.
“He was a good sportsman who besides golf used to throw harmer, discus and shot-put,” Mr Aritua who assisted many golfers as a caddie starting in 1949 said.
Back then he was in primary three and being a caddie presented him with the opportunity to learn the game.
Mr Aritua said it was until he joined junior education that he stopped being a golf caddie after mastering the game with a few of his age mates.
Mr Aritua believes that the future of golf in Arua is still bright despite some negative perception about the game with many people thinking it is a sport for the rich.
“The beauty of Arua golf course is in the sky. I’m telling you if you want to see the beauty of Arua golf course, fly over it. When the plane starts lowering down, you will see the greenness of the Arua golf course with all these trees, Mr Aritua said, stressing that the golf course must be protected.