Life offers varying prospects in different measures.
Many a time, one pays a huge opportunity cost to dwell along a given pathway and boldly tick some boxes, definitely leaving the others.
Current Uganda golf national team captain Joseph “Okadda” Cwinyaai played football in his infantry stage.
It is however less surprising that along the way, he opted for golf which has since witnessed him achieve his personal dreams, made him famous and offered him a dream to join the bourgeoisie cluster of this elite sport.
Raised up in Bukwali village, Fort Fortal – Western Uganda, Cwinyaai is also a plumber by training from the famous Kichwamba Technical school in FortPortal.
The handicap 2 golfer is also the current captain of the Uganda national golf team, and is arguably the top gross player by far in the country at the moment.
Cwinyaai opens up to why he chose golf to football despite having played the two disciplines.
When I was completing my primary education, I used to play football and at the same time, I was a caddie at Tooro Golf Club till the early secondary days at Fort Portal SSS. However, I zeroed on golf because I saw very many opportunities there and besides, many of my friends were in golf. In golf, you socialize a lot with people from different walks of life and you can get easily employed.Joseph Cwinyaai, Uganda National team golfer
Cwinyaai is an off-spring to Keuber Samson and Nancy Acheng, born on 30th November 1994 in Nsambya, Kampala.
By virtue of the profession for the father (Police officer), he was transferred to Fort Portal, Western Uganda when Cwinyaai was only 6 years.
He therefore had his elementary education at Buhinga PS (P1-P7) before crossing to Fort Portal SS (O-Level).
Later, he joined Mpanga SS for senior 5 but the father was again transferred to Packwach area where he completed A level studies.
He later joined Kichwamba Technical (Fort Portal) for a certificate course in plumbing.
I started to caddie when I was in P5 at Tooro Golf Club. At that time, I also used to play some little football with friends. In 2012, I started playing serious golf at handicap 7 and now I have since cut to handicap 2.Joseph Cwinyaai, gross golfer
He has since played for the junior national golf team and risen up the ladders to the senior national team.
Cwinyaai, like many of the Fort Portal junior golfers drew their inspiration from former Uganda Amateur Golf Champion, Stephen Kasaija.
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“I grew up watching Stephen Kasaija play golf. He was very smart and played good golf. He also used to encourage us play the game. Later, I fell in love with the game approach of Titus Okwong (now based in the United States) and Lawrence Muhenda, now a professional golfer” Cwinyaai attests.
Internationally, Roy McIlroy is his bold pick.
Cwinyaai boldly confesses that the year 2019 was arguably his best year in confining confines given the sporting achievements in the time span.
In 2019 alone, he was overall winner at five different tournaments coming top at the Venus Open championship and Toro Tusker Open in his home town, Entebbe Open (Entebbe), Kinyara Open (Masindi) and the Kakira Open (Jinja).
For the Uganda Amateur Open Championship staged at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf and Spa resort, he was fourth overall.
Thus far in 2020, he has since claimed the Venus Open (Fort Portal) and the third edition of the Kitante Open staged at Uganda Golf Club in Kampala.
National Team duty
Cwinyaai joined the junior national team in 2012 before elvating to the senior team four years later (in 2016).
He was consequently part of the Uganda team that won the East Africa Challenge Cup (held in Addis Ababa) in 2016.
He won the Zone 4 Trophy in 2018 (Mombasa) and the following year in Burundi with the Victoria Cup held in Kampala in 2019.
Although he quit football, he still reserves time to follow the home based club in the Uganda Premier League – Tooro United Football Club.
Locally, Uganda Cranes midfielder Tony Mawejje is his pick and internationally, it is the Portugese international Cristiano Ronaldo who is his role model.
National team service, Uganda Open target and professional ranks:
Cwinyaai has a dream of captaining Uganda once again at the Africa Zone IV, East African Challenge and Victoria Cup before thinking of joining professional ranks.
His ultimate target for the 2020 is winning the coveted Uganda Amateur Golf Championship that will be held at the Uganda Golf Club in Kampala before officially crossing over to the paid ranks.
“Many people have been asking me when I am turning professional. I want to first represent my country at the Zone IV, East African Challenge and Victoria Cup. Then, my dream as well is to win the Uganda Open before I join professional golf” he remarks.
Cwinyaai lauds a number of personalities and partners who have pushed him along the way and transform into a better golfer.
“I want to thank so many people in life who have helped in my golfing journey. People like my parents, Titus Okwong, Ramesh Feroze, Isaac Aisu and the Uganda Golf Union have always supported me in the best way forward” he adds.
Currently, Cwinyaai Callaway branded kit bag with Callaway Irons, Callaway Driver, Tilest Wedges 52, 56, 60, Three Wood Epic Flash, White Hot Putter and a Callaway Bag.
His dream in five years time is to become one of the most respectable golf brands in professional golf in Uganda and East Africa as well as to play in the famous Sunshine tour.
The best golf course ever is the Laem Chabang in Thailand.
Full Names: Joseph Cwinyaai
Date of Birth: 30th November 1994
Play of Birth: Nsambya, Kampala – Uganda
Current Residence: Bukwali village, Fort Fortal
Parents: Keuber Samson and Nancy Acheng
Education: Nsambya Nursery, Buhinga PS (P1-P7), Fort Portal SS (S1-S4), Mpanga SS (S5), Pakwach SS (S6), Kichwamba Technical (Fort Portal) – Plumbing
2007: Started as a caddie, aged 10 years
2012: Commenced serious golf with handicap 7 and joined national Team Junior Team
Inspiration: Stephen Kasaija, Titus Okwong and Lawrence Muhenda; Roy McIlroy (International)
Champion (Individual): Venus Open (2019), Toro Tusker Open (2019), Entebbe Open (2019), Kinyara Open (2019), Kakira Open (2019), Venus Open (2020), Kitante Open (2020)
Champion (Uganda national team): East Africa Challenge Cup (2016, Addis Ababa), Zone 4 Trophy (2018, Mombasa), Zone 4 Trophy (2019, Burundi), Victoria Cup (2019, Kampala)
Runners up: Palm Valley Open (2020)
Fourth: Uganda Amateur Open Championship (2019)
Best footballers: Tonny Mawejje and Cristiano Ronaldo
Special Appreciation: Titus Okwong, Ramesh Feroze, Isaac Aisu, Uganda Golf Union
Golf Kit: Callaway Irons, Callaway Driver, Tilest Wedges 52, 56, 60, Three Wood Epic Flash, White Hot Putter, Callaway Bag
Phone: Samsung S8 Plus
Dream Car: BMW
Best Course: Thailand Laem Chabang