The government of the Gold Coast – as it was known until 1957 – established the elite Achimota School (originally called the Prince of Wales College) in 1927. Before long, the Scottish Principal, Alexander Fraser, and several of his teachers had created a staff golf section, playing on local 9-hole courses.
By 1934, the golfers had convinced the local anti-malarial authorities that long grass and scrub should be removed from part of the school grounds, enabling a 7-hole course to be laid out for their own use. A further two holes were added before the first Ghana Open was held at Achimota in 1940.
It would take another 30 years before the course was extended to a full 18 holes and these were subsequently re-sequenced in 1984, allowing the final two holes to be played in front of the clubhouse. Unusually, a round at Achimota Golf Club now starts and finishes with a par three hole and there are back-to-back par fives on both the front nine (holes 4 and 5) and back nine (holes 14 and 15).
Peter contacted us on 23rd October 2014 and provided us with the following update on Achimota:
"Paul McGinley redesigned the Achimota course, which re-opened fully in October 2014. This is not a course that will disappoint, with the character you would expect from an 80-year-old course. For an average high teens handicap player the course feels long at 6,400 yards, with a short par four to start followed by two long par fours, two par fives and an uphill par four. The first par three is the 9th. Every hole has a different character, with good shots being rewarded and bad shots sometimes being forgiven but often being punished.
Well-maintained fairways and greens, particularly for West Africa – welcoming and relaxed but with standards expected to be maintained. Good caddies always available and a nice new clubhouse. Closed Mondays and Fridays but can almost always get a tee time with a couple of day’s notice. Good driving range / academy with inexpensive pros on hand for tuition. The course is within greater Accra City so a distinctive atmosphere, particularly on weekends with the music from the many churches surrounding the course."
Well you have to play the top course in Accra when in town! A fine golf course and a keen membership. I played with one of the senior members and the local pro. The are several serious golf holes out there, and a really good finish. We are not going to compete with Tara Ita, but the course was fun to play and a great experience. The greens super had a recent changeover, so conditions were struggling on the greens. Fantastically, I played on Sunday morning. The course is ringed by churches and you could hear the music from several choirs around the edges which was very uplifting and supercool! In fact, you walk down a stretch of town street from green to tee on the front, and we golfers and caddies passed through a company of ladies strolling together toward service. I could go on, but as the 41st President of the US and grandson of the founder of the Walker Cup would say, "Not Ghana do it!"
btw, a local offered that Nigeria had the best collection of courses in the region.
- Jake Starr