Top 5 Golf Courses of Nigeria 2016
We present our inaugural rankings for Nigeria
Following recent correspondence with numerous people who know about golf in Nigeria (including Charles Ajani, a member of the Nigeria-UK Golfing Association), we’re pleased to present our inaugural Top 5 rankings for this unsung West African country. We’re indebted to Charles for his assistance because his energy has provided the impetus for us to compile this list.
The Nigeria Golf Federation doesn’t have a website and the PGA of Nigeria website is extremely limited in its coverage of golf courses within the country so, up until now, you could say that gleaning information about Nigerian golf had been rather a difficult task.
We understand there are more than fifty courses spread around the country – some belonging to exotically named clubs like Blue Elephant, Dolphin and Rhino – but we think we’ve managed to identify the top 10% that are a cut above the others.
Our Nigerian No. 1 is Smokin Hills, a recent Ron Garl design in Ondo state which has been described by our correspondent Charles as “head and shoulders above all others, however being remote makes it a difficult one to get to. Once you are there, though, you know for sure this is the best design and build Nigeria has to offer.”
At number 2, located in Abuja, the national capital, IBB International was developed in the early 1990s. According to Charles it “was the number one golf course for a while, however, not to be outdone, IBB is currently building an onsite world class hotel and has a Hilton only 5 minutes away. Apart from that, the course is in immaculate condition all year round.”
Officially opened in 2007 by Colin Montgomerie, Retief Goosen and Nancy Lopez, Le Meridien Ibom is number 3 in our Nigerian chart. Located in Uyo and designed by little known English architect Steve Ritson, it’s been described as “perhaps the best golf facility in Nigeria, mostly because the course boasts superb fairways and greens and is backed up by an onsite world class hotel.”
The final two courses are situated in the former capital city, Lagos, on the south coast.
Lakowe Lakes at number 4 is part of a new residential development and South African architect Rob O’Friel laid out this 18-hole layout within a 225-acre portion of an enormous coastal estate. Charles has this to say about Lakowe Lakes: “It reminds you of many a course in the US and plays quite tough. It’s a true test and one to be played if ever in the former capital city.”
Finally, at number 5, the course at Ikoyi is the key component of a massive recreation club where the membership enjoys a wide variety of sports. Our correspondent Charles describes it as “probably the most played golf course in Africa. It is right in the centre of Lagos with several 5-star hotels and excellent restaurants nearby. The course is quite mature and short. Only straight drives and a carefully planned round will be rewarded.”
Other courses such as Ikeja, Benin, Ilorin and Enugu came into the reckoning for a place in our chart but, even though they didn’t quite make the cut, they well may feature in the future if we expand our rankings to a Top 10. We’re also keeping a close eye on another Ron Garl project at Lekki Beach and Tim Lobb has promised to keep us posted on another couple of his new courses at Garden City in Port Harcourt and Summit Hills in Calabar.
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 5 Golf Courses in Nigeria click this link.
We always welcome comments when we update national rankings so we’re keen to know what you think of our new Top 5 for Nigeria. Is there a particular course that we’ve omitted or perhaps we’ve included one that really shouldn’t be there? Do we have the courses ranked in the right order? Please click the “Respond to this article” link below if you’d like to contact us.
12 October 2015 Respond to this article