Guyana is on track to becoming a Golf Nation!
The Guyana Golf Association is constructing a number of high-level day and night facilities across Guyana, with a 18-hole Maraiko Bay golf course on track to becoming a star attraction for the sport in the Caribbean.
Construction is currently underway for the Crane/Vreed-en-hoop golf course and Maraiko Bay Resorts 18-hole Championship Golf course, which will both be functional day and night facilities by the end of 2022.
Maraiko Bay will be the first Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) standard 18-hole golf course in the region. Completion of this course costs is estimated to be in excess of US$18M.
It is anticipated to be a star attraction for Guyana.
This will be situated South East of the capital Georgetown, occupying a broad area between the Atlantic coast and the Mahaica River.
The Crane/Vreed-en-hoop golf facility is almost completed. The approximate cost for completion of this facility is GYD$30M.
One of the major challenges to constructing this facility was the lack of persons in Guyana with the skills to construct golf courses, according to Aleem Hussain, President of the Guyana Golf Association and head of the NexGen Golf group.
“Our initial design was done by a UK firm, and the implementation was done by the NexGen golf team, headed by myself.”
“The design for the crane golf course was done by myself which is a unique design that allows us to use a very small footprint but yet create a full-sized golf course which brings it closer to the cities and allows easier access for everyone who wants to play golf but in a very small setting.”
Another major challenge was the severe weather near the end of last year which delayed construction.
Construction began at Crane/Vreed-en-hoop in September 2021 and at Maraiko Bay in October 2021.
The initial design for these golf ranges had to be modified to fit the space available while being up to international standards.
A modified golf facility costs G$12-15m to construct but will give thousands of players a chance to learn the sport.
This compact course only requires 6-10 acres of land.
“The idea behind this is similar to what happened in T20 cricket. People don’t have time to watch five days of test match cricket anymore. They want a result in a very short time. The modified golf courses on smaller footprint allows you to finish golf within 45 minutes to an hour and a half – as opposed to five hours.”
Hussain intends to host the World Amateur golf championships in Guyana but will first need to have three 18-hole golf courses fully constructed to qualify as hosts.
This World Championship will bring top amateur golfers from 44 countries.
The event is widely-regarded as the mini-Olympics of golf.
Design plans for an 18-hole course at Ashmin's Resort are currently taking shape, with promises from Minister of Sport Charles Ramson Junior for assistance in constructing even more 18-hole courses.
Hussian noted that this is expected to boost sport tourism, especially with Guyana now being an oil producing nation, since golf is a sport that tends to attract professionals around the world.
This is due to the fact that golf is one of the unique sports which allows persons to network while playing.
“This allows people who are working to come afterward and because of the small footprint we can also light the courses up like we have the driving range lit up so people can actually stay late at night and play when it’s a lot cooler.”
Currently the only driving range the Guyana Golf Association has is the NexGen Golf Academy range at the Scout’s Association ground on Woolford avenue.
“So we’ll see a lot more people being attracted to the game just like they were attracted to 20/20 cricket in the night setting, and in the shorter format setting.”
The Guyana Golf Association has also applied to National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) for land in Linden, Lethem and Berbice to construct more golf courses.
Hussain notes that once approved and given the location, a compact course can be constructed in approximately three months.
There are also plans to construct golfing facilities in hinterland regions.
This aligns with the association’s aim to have golf played across every region in Guyana.