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To some, golf is an elite sports; for those who play it, it is one of the numerous sports in the world that anyone can play with the same enthusiasm, ambition and passion. Lady captain of ladies section of IBB International Golf and Country Club, MaryRose Richard-Obioha sits wth Macaulay Maduwuba as she tells a story of Golf: what it is, who can play and how to play the sport. According to her, golf cultivates opportunities, benefits and helps build new relationships.
Who is MaryRose Richard-Obioha?
MaryRose Richard-Obioha is a golfer, Public Servant in the Oil & Gas Sector, Lady captain of IBB Golf and Country Club and a married mother of three lovely and adorable children, from Ejezie Autonomous Community, Arondizuogu in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State; One of twenty kids in a polygamous home comprising ten male and female, respectively, though some are late. We lost both parents 36 years ago.
I began my education at School Road Primary School Aba, later it was Owerri Girls Secondary School, Owerri but left after one year for Federal Government College (FGC), Port Harcourt. There I restarted from Class one where I was awarded Federal Government scholarship for the entire duration of my secondary education due to my performance.
I proceeded to University of Nigeria Nsukka and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. I did my National Youth Service with the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Port Harcourt. It was upon that I gained employment with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in 1986, and I’ve been there ever since and obtained my MBA in Management.
Naturally I am a very happy individual. I love happy Environment and I cherish seeing people around me happy. I love my God for He is Awesome.
My hobbies are cooking, dancing and golfing.
What is goof to you?
Golf means everything to me. It offers me an opportunity to meet new people, establish new relationships.
Generally, it has helped to improve my interpersonal relations. That’s why they say Golf is life.
Why play golf?
For all individuals, playing golf brings a lot of physical and mental health benefits. It offers good exercise, especially when you opt to carry your golf buggy yourself; that itself is a great amount of cardiovascular exercise.
In my course, a round of golf takes about five hours. This means spending a lot of time and enjoying plenty of sunshine, though some people react to it but I personally enjoy it.
After a round of golf, you get exhausted this results into better sleep time, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and improved thought capacity.
Playing golf also builds your character: You cannot return good scores if you are angry.
As a professional, golf helps to improve ones business relationships.
Golf is good for young kids, too: It improves both their physical and mental abilities by not only keeping them healthy but also teaching real life and business skills.
The sport is a game of integrity played within rules, you cannot cheat in it even if you wanted to so it molds and reshapes character.
What difference does golf bring to life?
In golf, every swing at the ball is intentional and directional.
Golf teaches you to be patient. It actually humbles you. It cannot be played in anger and if you do, the worse your game becomes.
Before you take a swing at the ball, you must have calculated how and where the ball should land with intention to make the hole but you don’t determine when the ball reaches the pin, that tests your patience and you need that to win in golf as well as life.
How is the life of a golfer in the home and professional front?
I play golf for the challenge it presents. You strive to always improve on your last game.
On the professional front, it molds your character and skills; improves your decision-making abilities, improve your time management because you must be conscious of your schedule at all times. If you are late for your tee time, you are penalized. Golf is therefore good for any business.
Winning in golf comes by making the hole in the fewest strokes. So, you learn to manage your opportunities, assets and time for optimum results.
The more time and swings you take to make a hole, the lesser your chances of winning. This is almost the same in the business and professional world where you must be deliberate in management as it concerns resource management and allocation to achieve organisational goals.
With golf, you learn to avoid wastes and spend the appropriate time to achieve desired result.
Who can play golf?
Golf is for anyone – old and young, male and female, big or small – there is a form of golf for everybody.
There is an erroneous thought that golf is for the elites only. That is not absolutely true. Yes, you need to have your golf apparels to enjoy the game and develop through personal practise at your convenient time, you also might need to join a club for the right environment but the amount involved is something one can afford if they are committed and dedicated to play golf. It is not up to what the average professional or business person spends annually.
Some people start as early as five years old; sixty to seventy and eighty-year olds can also play whether for relaxation, competition or just for exercise.
How can new comers get into golf at IBB?
Getting into golf at our club takes a simple process of qualifying for membership and actually becoming one.
A prospective member has to pick up the relevant membership form, complete it and submit to the secretariat. They will be required to pay appropriate fees after which they face an interview with the Membership Committee before induction into the club.
It is an individual membership. This means husband and wife must register and go through the process individually.
The club makes membership process easy and affordable so anyone can become a member.
Our doors are always open to interested prospective members who can walk into the club anytime or reach us through our website and social media pages.
What likely challenges will a new golfer encounter?
Well, the challenges are no different from playing other sports as a newbie but those of golf are somewhat peculiar if you do not pay close attention to them and may persist even as you age, playing.
Golf is a game of aim and target: maintaining focus on balls and heads-down, applying the right force to a swing, are major challenges.
To excel in golf, you need to be a good aimer: the ability to aim and align shots to reach an intended target.
Most golfers, even experienced ones are guilty of this because they are anxious to see where their ball is when the shot has not been taken. Once the concentration is not there, you miss the shot.
New golfers must therefore remember to concentrate at all times.
One other challenge for a new golfer is finding a patient golfer to play a round of golf at the initial stage, bearing in mind that the slowness of a new golfer’s game may irritate the experienced one. Patience is needed on both parts.
Some of these challenges affect a new golfer but it can be handled properly with the right guidance and counsel.
What inspired you to become the IBB Ladies captain?
I regard myself as an excellent team player; a dedicated, reliable and easy-to-work-with individual. Those traits are key to the success of a Lady Captain.
Being a club member for sometime and held some positions, I had organized several golf tournaments adjudged by many as successful. I also brought the Club some beneficial developments.
A host of the members considered that my reputation would bring more good for the club and I was encouraged by my previous performance to want to do more.
Above all, my past experience and the zeal to serve remain the major drivers.
What new things have happened since you became IBBLadies captain?
Since I became captain, the club has progressed on different fronts and levels with regards to team building where my team and I have been able to bridge the gap between the high/low, old/new, Seniors/Ladies.
I have been able to utilise my influence to attract more sponsorship to drive corporate sponsorship for our events.
I have introduced new events such as the Past Lady Captain’s Cup to consolidate on the gains of past Lady captains. The first edition of the Past Lady Captains Cup is scheduled to hold first week in November.
What has been your biggest challenge as IBB Lady captain?
Politics… there is politics everywhere in Nigeria and sometimes you wish you could just do without them.
Personally, I am a very open and friendly individual. I cherish being happy and love to see people around me happy. I love my supporters and advisers for you cannot know it all. You must share ideas with people then decide on way forward.
I am a public servant as such and I do not really understand the politics especially as women are concerned so it has been a bit of challenge.
Anyways, I have been able to steer the waters since I became captain and will survive till the end of my tenure.
What are you looking to achieve in your time as IBB Lady captain?
The Ladies Golf Section is the bedrock of IBB International Golf and Country Club. My desire is to position IBB Ladies as so.
We plan and organize several events, in fact on my calendar, all the months are occupied with activities. By the end of my tenure, I want to see that all the usual IBB LGS activities have been revived and new ones added.
I want to see unity among IBB Ladies members improve for a lasting period; get the club bubbling with activities.
Thankfully, most of these desires are already being experienced by the teeming members.
How have you handled corporate sponsorship for your events?
Sponsorship is a major issue and golf is not an exception.
I started by constituting a working media and publicity team to ensure that corporate bodies know about us and what we are doing so that we can better push our propositional value.
Through earned trust, my personal and business contacts come in handy to support our events and tournaments as donors and sponsors.
We have ensured that funds are properly and transparently managed bearing in mind the current economic situation that resulted from Covid-19.
A person’s integrity is key and that has been my strength in IBB. It, however, can be better.
Your tenure expires in 2022, what are your plans post captaincy?
I plan to play more golf on local and international courses with more seriousness. Having worked in the Oil & Gas Sector, I will engage in Consultancy, especially in the area of Gas. I will also intensify my agricultural activities.
Above all, I will devote my time to my family. Due to the nature of my job, I’ve stayed quite a long time away from my kids so I will be spending more time with them.