Nkana Golf Club 1930 – 1990
Nkana Golf Club was carved out of virgin bush by W.J. Scrivener in 1929. It is widely believed he was assisted by an unknown course architect from the United Kingdom. The club was officially opened in 1930 with Mr. A.S. Winter as its first President.
The original club houses (whose foundations can still be seen) were to the right of the first green midway between the men’s tee and green. The present club house was moved in the early 1940’s with various additions carried out over the years. The latest addition being the upstairs cocktail bar which replaced the old snooker room. The original course had slag greens which were changed also in the early 1940’s. I say “original course” because this course has changed character over the years. Nkana used to boast a par 75 with 7 par 5’s.
In December 1956 the Committee (Mr. O.B. Bennett OBE, CBE was President this year) decided that each hole needed two tees. Their reason being that there was too much traffic on the course during the week and the single tees just could not sustain the wear and tear. The Club had 950 members with 510 being active playing members. The Saturday Competitions used to see between 160 and 180 players.
February/March 1954 saw the arrival at Nkana of professional cum green keeper Crawford McClusky. “Old Mac” proved to be one of the most popular people at Nkana and the Copperbelt as a whole. He was a great teacher and green keeper – so much so that Arnold Palmer rated “Nkana’s greens as among the best he played on in Africa".
Crawford McClusky died of a heart attack on the course in 1969. There is a memorial trophy played every year in his honour. He was very instrumental in the changing of Nkana to the 73 par it is today.
The history of Nkana Golf Club cannot pass without mentioning Terry Long. Terry was possibly the finest golfer to have graced our course.
He has the distinction of having won every single trophy to be played at Nkana. He has won the Club Championships a record 10 times (his first win being in 1944 and his last in 1969). His first wife, Pam was also a great golfer (winning most of the ladies title in her day). 1958 saw Nkana becoming the first and only club to win all 3 league titles that used to be played for – notable names from those teams are Red McCabe, Dougie Cockhill, Terry Long, Ron Norris, Him Boosey, Peter Colam, Tommy Peterson and Doug Tighe. Doug Tighe actually entered the British Open in 1954 from Nkana. Nkana’s ladies also proved their mettle against the other clubs with the help of Joan Botha, Pam Long, Daphne Tighe, Beryl Acton, Pam Pyle and Diana Stock.
Up until the late 1950’s and early 1960”s before Zambia’s Independence, the membership of Nkana was all expatriate. The emergence of Independence saw many Zambians taking up the game and among the notable firsts to join Nkana were Chembe Phiri ( Past President of the ZGU), David Phiri (Past President ZGU and FAZ Chief) and O. Chagwiza. Emilia Kabwe deserves a mention as being a formidable player at Nkana who also served on the Executive Committee.
The mid 1980’s saw Tony Nkhuwa from Nkana win the Zambian Order of Merit. Muchinga Simbule (a member of Nkana for a short period) dominated the Order of Merit for years. 1989 was indeed a proud year for Nkana when both order of merits were won by this club. (Muchinga Simbule, the ZGU and Lindsay Cummings the ZLGU).
The first Zambian Captain of Nkana was Ken Sichone in 1984. Unfortunately Ken died in a car accident in the September of that year. Alfred Mukonde took up the helm for the next five years before he passed away in December 1989. Ephraim Ngululu was elected Captain for 1990. All in all Nkana Golf Club still boasts a fairly healthy membership and tremendous course having survived the wear and tear of 60 years.