Godfrey Nsubuga holds some golf balls in his hands | Credit: John Batanudde


Newly crowned Johnnie Walker Uganda Amateur Golf Open champion Godfrey Nsubuga confessed to have changed the ball from Pro-V he had used for the first three days to Pinnacle on the final day.

  • 82nd Johnnie Walker Uganda Amateur Golf Open
  • Winner: Godfrey Nsubuga (Mehta Club & Uganda Golf Club)
  • Scores: 65, 69, 72, 69 (275)

Strategy, planning, techniques, tactics and sheer luck often determine a great deal in a sporting championship.

Many a time, sports personalities dwell upon specific tactics at hand to score above the bare minimum with clear endeavours to beat set targets and best of all, excel.

When the 82nd edition Johnnie Walker Uganda Amateur Golf Open championship took centre stage at the par-72 Uganda Golf Club – Kitante, the entire field of 131 golfers had objectives, ambitions and missions to accomplish over the 72 holes’ action played in four rounds.

Uganda national team golfer Godfrey Nsubuga, a pre-tournament favourite from the practice round lived to his billing as he lifted the title with a tournament record score of 275 gross (-11).

Godfrey Nsubuga holds a golf ball before playing | Credit: John Batanudde

Throughout the four days, Nsubuga was unstoppable as he led from start to finish with 7-under 65, 3-under 69, level (72) and another 3-under 69 in the final round.

For the opening three rounds, Nsubuga used the Pro-V golf ball and it worked for him bearing in mind the wet course.

Perhaps, from the strategy at hand of playing on slower greens, he had to change the ball to the pinnace model on the last day of the championship.

The Mehta Club-bred 23-year-old golfer elucidates the decision to change the ball type from Pro-V to Pinnacle.

“The Pro-V ball that I used for the first three rounds was not as moving as I planned because the greens were a little holding (slow). So, I changed to the Pinnacle ball and It worked for me very well on the final day,” he revealed.

Godfrey Nsubuga holds a Pinnacle ball | Credit: John Batanudde

Nsubuga was relaxed throughout the four rounds with a nervy day three where he was level for the course.

“If you struggle and play level, it is good enough,” he spoke in his victory speech as the members cheered on.

Nsubuga has been in spectacular form throughout the year with exceptional displays during the Kenya match play championship.

Godfrey Nsubuga with his caddie Mufti Musinguzi plan before driving off on day three on hole 12 | Credit: John Batanudde

He attributed his fine form to the supportive golfing fraternity for all the support accorded to him, throughout the year, including a high-performance training camp in South Africa.

 “First and foremost, I want to thank God for granting me this victory. It is God who prepared my victory. In a special way, I want to thank the entire golfing fraternity for supporting me. In the first place, I thank the Mehta family for allowing me to play on the course, the Uganda Golf Union for sponsoring me for the specialized golf training in South Africa, the Uganda Golf Club for admitting me as a member, sponsors and friends as Hillary Bamulinde, my caddie Mufti Musinguzi and all the others for the necessary support,” the 23-year-old golfer added.

Godfrey Nsubuga about to drive off during the final round of the 2023 Johnnie Walker Uganda Golf Amateur Open championship at UGC, Kitante

Nsubuga beat a field of other 130 gross golfers, from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, China and Sweden.

Ibrahim Bagalana finished second as the 2021 winner Joseph Cwinya-ai came third.

Ibrahim Bagalana shares a light moment with female professional golfer Flavia Namakula. She was among the starters | Credit: John Batanudde

Michael Tumusiime, the runners-up last year at Lake Victoria Resort and Spa was fourth overall this time round.

The four golfers Nsubuga, Bagalana, Cwinya-ai and Tumusiime were all in the same pressure group on days three and four.

Joseph Cwinya-ai reads the line before putting | Credit: John Batanudde
Michael Tumusiime drives off the ball | Credit: John Batanudde

On day one, Conrad Odere struck an eye-catching hole-in-one shot on the par-3 hole no.4.

Rwanda’s Felix Dusabe emerged top with the longest drive prize.

What is next?

On Tuesday, 24th October, the golfers will play the Absa-sponsored Pro-Am tourney (amateurs and professionals) in preparation for the professionals’ open (25th to 28th October 2023) where a total kitty of Ugx 100,000,000 has been put in prize money.

Cast of winners since 1932:

Amateur Category:

  • 1932 – H.Davidson (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1933 – H.Davidson (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1934 – R.W Hooker (Muthaiga Golf Club)
  • 1935 – J.D Rankine (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1936 – J.D Rankine (Uganda Golf Clun)
  • 1937 –  H. Davidson (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1938 – R.W Bun (Mombasa Golf Club)
  • 1939 – J.E Higginson
  • 1940 – 1947 – NOT HELD
  • 1948 – D. F Stewart (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1949 – A.Q Roberts (Kitale Golf Club)
  • 1950 – N.C Elwell (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1951 – N.C Elwell (Mwanza Golf Club)
  • 1952 – J.R Cooke (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1953 – R.W Hooper (Nairobi Golf Club)
  • 1954 – M.Johnson (Kabalae Golf Club)
  • 1955 – J.R Oglive (Kitale Golf Club)
  • 1956 – J.R Oglive (Kitale Golf Club)
  • 1957 – Ian McAdam (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1958 – Brian Malone (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1959 – Ian McAdam (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1960 – Mike Johnson (Mbale Golf Club)
  • 1961 – Mike Johnson (Mbale Golf Club)
  • 1962 – Mike Johnson (Mbale Golf Club)
  • 1963 – John Higginson (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1964 –  John Higginson (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1965 –  Muhammed Rajab (Nairobi Golf Club)
  • 1966 – John Higginson (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1967 – I.Pattinson (Dar es Salaam Golf Club)
  • 1968 – G.Burrows (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1969 –  M.Rajab (Nairobi Golf Club)
  • 1970 – M.Couma (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1971 – J. Kahugu (Sigona Golf Club)
  • 1972 – Ben Okello (Masaka Golf Club)
  • 1973 – Tom Taban (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1974 – Alex Okodan (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1975 –  Ramathan Kayamba (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1976 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1977 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1978 – Sadi Onito  (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1979 – 1980 – NOT HELD
  • 1981 – Juma Jaffer (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1982 – Juma Jaffer (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1983 – Sadi Onito (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1984 – John Mucheru (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1985 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1986 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1987 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1988 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1989 – Allan Njoroge (Muthaiga Golf Club)
  • 1990– Dedan Kagonyera (Kabale Golf Club)
  • 1991 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1992 – Juma Jaffer (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1993 – John Gavin (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1994 –  Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1995 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1996 – Sadi Onito (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 1997 – Steven Birungi (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1998 – Steven Birungi (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 1999 – Steven Birungi (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 2000 – Deo Akope (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2001 – Deo Akope (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2002 – Deo Akope (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2003 – Charles Yokwe (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 2004 – David Odhiambo (Nyanza Golf Club)
  • 2005 – Charles Yokwe (Jinja Golf Club)
  • 2006 – Amos Kamya (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2007 – Nicholas Rokoine (Muthaiga Golf Club)
  • 2008 – George Olayo (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2009 – Peter Ssendaula (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2010 – Brian Mwesigwa (Kabale Golf Club)
  • 2011 –Rogers Byaruhanga (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 2012 – Phillip Kasozi (Uganda Golf Club)
  • 2013 – Peter Ssendaula (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2014 – Willy Deus Kitata (Entebbe Golf Club)
  • 2015 – Ronald Otile (Tooro Golf Club)
  • 2016 – Ronald Otile (Tooro Golf Club)
  • 2017 – Ronald Rugumayo (Tooro Golf Club)
  • 2018 –  Ronald Otile (Tooro Golf Club)
  • 2019 – Daniel Nduva (Nyali Golf and Country Club)
  • 2020 – John Lejirma (Kenya Railway Golf Club)
  • 2021 – Joseph Cwinya-ai (Tooro Golf Club)
  • 2022 – Andrew Ssekibejja (Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa Club)
  • 2023 – Godfrey Nsubuga (Mehta Club & Uganda Golf Club)

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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