Paul Clarke, Western Focus Writer
While not professing to be a golfing enthusiast, Montego Bay's Mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris, who was at the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course in Montego Bay on Sunday for the inaugural staging of the 'Swing for Charity' Golf Tournament, believes golf should be a central plank in local sport tourism.
"We need to support golf as a sport because it has the potential to be a central plank in sport tourism," said Harris. "We should encourage and stimulate others to engage in this type of sporting activities.
"We want people from overseas to come to our city. I don't think there is any other parish with the wide range of golfing facilities as we have in St James," noted Harris. "If we can consolidate western Jamaica as the golfing capital of the region, then we can stimulate players from the other islands to come here, which would be a key component in building our sports- tourism industry."
Home to six Golf courses
Western Jamaica is home to six world-class golf courses, all of which are capable of staging major international tournaments. During the 1990s, the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover played host to the Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship.
The Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship was terminated in 1995, but the west has remained a focal point on the local golf calendar, regularly staging events such as the annual Jamaica Open Golf Championship.
The 'Swing for Charity' Golf Tournament is the latest addition to the region's golf calendar.
"Tournaments such as these are always a welcome addition to the sporting calendar in this parish and this city," said Harris. "What I know is that in and around Montego Bay, we have the best golfing facilities. Their overall quality is an attraction to the city, so we want to utilise them as much as possible."
Sean Williams emerged as the champion of the 'Swing for Charity' Golf Tournament, topping a field of 70 professional and amateur golfers with a top score of 37 points. The American competed in the 0-5 handicap section.
Kay Weir emerged the top female performer and walked away with the women's prize after beating Mary Eddie into second place.
Funds raised from the one-day event will go to the SOS Children's Village, the Save the Child programme, and Tower Hill Basic School.