About CRIG » HISTORY OF THE TAFO GOLF CLUB
The first indication if when golf started at Tafo is a terse statement in the 1946 - 1947 - Annual Report of the West African Cocoa Research Institute (WACRI) that says: "...A small Club has been built and two tennis courts and nine-hole golf course supply means of recreation" Golf therefore must have started at Tafo in 1946 or 1947.
Creation of the Golf Course
The area which is now the golf course was a waterlogged land that bred mosquitoes and to control the mosquitoes, the Central Cocoa Research Station instituted a Mosquito Control Scheme trenches were dug to drain the area. Part of the area was then turned into a vegetable garden and the rest a grazing ground for livestock. In 1945, the vegetable garden, which belonged to the Department of Agriculture, was taken over by WACRI. WACRI leveled the area and planted Dhoub grass (Cynodon dactylon) and Tafo grass (Chrysopogon aciculatus). Thus, was the beginning of the golf course at Tafo.
Decline of Golf at Tafo
Golf was played at Tafo and Annual Club Competitions (as can be seen from the Championship boards at the Clubhouse) were held until 1962 when WACRI was dissolved and most of the expatriates left. The financial situation of the newly created Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana made it difficult to maintain the golf course. The course therefore degenerated to a near forest and residents near the then sixth fairway, now the first fairway, turned the fairway into a food farm. The beautiful Tafo grass was destroyed because of the burning that took place when the land was cleared for farming.
Rehabilitation of the Golf Course
The golf course remained a bush until 1969 when Ghana hosted the 3rd International Cocoa Research Conference. On the conference programme was a visit to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana at Tafo. As part of the facelift for the conference, laboratories, offices and the CRIG Club where a luncheon was to be held were painted. The golf course, a hitherto beautiful panorama on the edge of the clubhouse that had turned to bush, was mowed and saved from extinction.
Development of the Course
With the golf course mowed, Rob Lockwood, an expatriate staff of CRIG, decided to play golf. Harry Evans, Bill Hutcheon, Terry Legg and Ben Tetteh joined him. The course however was difficult to maintain with numerous obstructions. The bridge over the Beyira stream had collapsed making it difficult to get a slasher across to maintain the area on the far side near the fifth green. There was an oxbow lake near the current fourth green and a large area of rocks on the seventh fairway. Mark Owusu, a Works Superintendent of CRIG, built the bridge over the stream. After the 1972/73 drought, the reservoir, which supplied water to CRIG and its environs, was dredged and some of the silt was used to fill the oxbow lake, cover the rocks on the seventh fairway and fill in many minor rocky and swampy areas.
News of the new golf club spread quickly and golfers from all over the country started visiting Tafo. The course, however, was still in a bad shape and a big embarrassment to the Tafo Golf Club members. The members (Rob Lockwood, Bill Hutcheon, Terry Legg and Ben Tetteh) therefore decided not to rely on CRIG alone for the maintenance of the course but to improve the golf course by their own efforts. They therefore, decided to work on Sunday mornings on the course. Douglas Tetteh who was then Bill Hutcheon's caddy assisted them regularly. It was hard work breaking rocky outcrops, leveling anthills, removing tree stumps and replanting Tafo grass on degraded fairways They also paid the CRIG tractor drivers for overtime work done on Sundays until later in 1977 when the Executive Director of CRIG directed that overtime payments to the tractor drivers be borne by the Institute. A broken CRIG gang mower was recovered and another set was rescued from a scrap heap at Bunso Cocoa Station. Rob Lockwood imported a large quantity of spare parts and with Colin Campbell's help built a working set of mowers. When CRIG had no tractors, a Land Rover was used to tow these mowers. The Tafo Golf Club is most grateful to these pioneers.
In 1977, Ben Tetteh and Bill Hutcheon, a keen Scottish golfer, redesigned the course and painted trees along the fairways. Hitherto, fairways crisscrossed with the risk of being hit by a ball. Moreover, the roughs and fairways were mowed to the same height because they crisscrossed.
Formation of Tafo Golf Club
As enthusiasm in the game grew in the 1974, Peter White decided to play in competitions organized by golf clubs in Ghana. This he could not do because golfers playing in competitions organized or approved by the Ghana Golf Association (GGA) must be members of affiliated clubs of the GGA. This necessitated the formation of the Tafo Golf Club. Tafo Golf Club, therefore, applied for membership. The Golf Club is open to CRIG staff as well as outsiders.
Membership of the Tafo Golf Club
With the departure of all CRIG expatriate staff, it was feared that the Golf Club might collapse. Luckily, there was a sudden influx of Ghanaians, notably, Ken Brew, Dr. G. K. Owusu, Dr. J. B. Halm, Dr. Robert Lee, Prof. Chris Adomako, Prof. J. Owusu Addo, Mike Ezan, J. V. L. Philips, Kofi Adomako, Ebo Simpson, George Fankah and Fred Ohene-Kena. Others of blessed memory are Mr. Justice Sarkodie, J. K. Enuson, S. C. Appenteng and Robert D. Ampaw. The Tafo Golf Club is grateful for their contribution to the maintenance of the Tafo Golf Course.
The Tafo Golf Club also gratefully acknowledges the immense contribution of Dr. G. K. Owusu and Dr. B. J. Halm, former Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director respectively, Mark Owusus, Ken Brew and Douglas Tetteh, all of the Cocoa Research Institute. Membership of the Tafo Golf Club has grown tremendously from the few members mentioned above to over forty, including a most of young and dynamic golfers from Tafo and Accra who have lofty plans for the modernization of the Tafo Golf Course. These include such stalwarts as Kofi Amoabeng (our current president), Major (Rtd) John Nyen, Kwaku Okyere, Gilbert Ohene-Dokyi and the current captain and treasurer Drs. F. K. Oppong and K. Osei-Bonsu. As part of the course improvement depressions on part of the fairways, which were most often waterlogged after heavy rains thus making the course unplayable were filled and more trees planted along the fairways and in the roughs.
Following encouragement from some enthusiastic club members, notably Kofi Amoabeng, Kwaku Okyere and Major John Nyen (Rtd) the Club in October 2002 initiated a project aimed at creating nine putting greens by the end of 2003 with resources from the Club coffers and massive financial and material support from the above mentioned members; the browns have been transformed into green under the supervision of Drs. K. Osei-Bonsu and F. K. Oppong, Treasurer and Captain respectively of the Club. The creation for a new Hole 6 was started in December 2006 to help ease the frequent hold-ups on this hole during major competitions. About 80% of the work has been completed.
Promotion of Junior Golfing
Golfing. This policy, apart from eroding the perception of golfing as the exclusive enclave of the affluent and the elite in the society, is also aimed at unearthing raw talents at a tender age. The club as at now has thirty (30) registered junior golfers aged between 11-17 years. With the support of the Club and some individuals, golf clubs and practice balls were purchased to kick-start the programme. Monthly competitions, sponsored by the Club and some individual club members have been instituted to sustain the interest of the youth in the programme. The St. Andrews Golf Club of Scotland through the Ghana Golf Association in May 2003 donated four sets of junior golf clubs to support the youth programme at Tafo. In January 2005 and 2006, two golf training programmes were held at Tafo by a Representative of European Professional Golfers Association to promote junior golfing in Ghana. Tafo is now a strong team of junior golfers. In May 2007, one of the junior golfers of Tafo was selected as one of the four-member team that represented Ghana in an African Juniro Golf Competition in Zimbanwe.
The first Tafo Open was an invitation sponsored by Bill Hutcheon 1977, Ralph Tetteh won the competition. The open, which was a great success ended on a sad note when Hans Brusch, one of the participants died in a car accident when returning to Accra on the Kukurantumi-Apedwa road. Subsequently, eleven (11) other opens have been held. UT Financial Services Limited for an unprecedented ninth consecutive time, will be sponsoring this year's Tafo Open.