The name Godfrey Mande will sound a strong bell on the ear pinnars of many ardent sports followers across the divide particularly so, from the Ugandan golf family.
The former Caddie at Entebbe Golf Course is now one of the few proud golf professionals in Uganda (They are just 22 in number with one lady, Norah Mbabazi).
“I picked interest in golf from my elder brother (Patrick Mugisha) whom I used to caddie”, he says.
Different tales of successful sportsmen are well scripted and documented.
Stories of ball boys and girls graduating to prominent basketball, volleyball, tennis, rugby, football , American football, hockey and cricket professionals, caddies to Pro Arm Golfers keep flowing like The Nile River.
Mande’s life aliens along the same path. He started to caddy for his elder brother in late 1990’s before personally trending an individual amateur route in 2000.
“I spent countless hours on the course that my sweat was soon rewarded with a national team call up in 2002”, the soft spoken pro says.
Uganda Open Curse:
As an amateur, Mande still reflects how close he missed winning the most prestigious honour on the local calendar – The Uganda Open.
“It still pains me, i never won the Uganda open. I came closest in 2003 when the late Yokwe took it and i finished 3rd overall. Perhaps, i won so many of those other titles both within the country and outside”, he adds.
As a professional, Mande, who gained the status in 2006 has won so many accolades that range from the Kibaki Trophy in 2008 to lots of money staked by sponsors by the sponsors in several tournaments.
Birth of UPGA:
Mande is glad that he has a hand in the formation of Uganda Professional Golfers Association (UPGA), a body for all professional golfers in Uganda.
“Together with Charles Yokwe (R.I.P), Deo Akope, Steven Kasaija and Saidi Atibu, we decided to formulate the body for the pros around”, Mande, who is now the manager and Club pro at the Palm Valley course says.
He adds that the body survived the three years after its birth and has continued to stablize for the better.
“As we recruit more members, there is a plan to start holding a unique Uganda Open for Pros only next year”, Mande reveals one of the body’s aspirations for the future.
Liverpool Golf Education:
In 2005, Mande landed that once in a lifetime experience of golf education in the United Kingdom.
“I was invited for Golf education in Liverpool and this was surely my life turning point. Upon the completion of the school, i was a different player altogether”, he adds with a smile.
Little wonder therefore, Mande turned proffesional the following year, where he has played todate.
Golf the Addictive Game:
Mande does not have any regrets having trended the golf world.” I have no regrets whasoever having played golf over any other game. Its very addictive but a great game. One can play it upto old age”, he says.
Currently, Mande juggles his work at Palm Valley as the club professional with hours of practice on the course and playing in a few professional events held for his daily bread and butter.
Mande’s Tit Bits:
Full Names: Godfrey Mande
Parents: Kedas Tumuhairwe and Bonny Rugira
Place of Birth: Entebbe Grade B Hospital
Education:St Tereza Primary, Entebbe Parents (O level), Liverpool Golf School
Honours (Amateur): Shell Open, Kabale (2003),Kabale Open (2004),Rwanda Open (2004), National Team member (2002 – 2005), 2nd Runners Up (Uganda Open, 2003).
Pro Honours: Kibaki Trophy (2008), Runners up (Pro Arm), World Cup Qualifiers (3rd round), Dubai Mena Open (Played 2 rounds), Asian Q- School (Played 3 rounds).
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