Uncertain future for golf in Seychelles as land of main course is up for sale
Built almost 50 years ago on an old coconut plantation, the golf course is 4,992 yards with nine holes. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
Golf in Seychelles faces an uncertain future after the property where the Anse Aux Pins golf course is located is up for sale.
The Seychelles Golf Club (SGC) and the Seychelles Golf Federation (SGF) have been using the golf course owned by Guinness Overseas Limited, a parent company of Seychelles Breweries, for many years. This was done through an understanding between the owner and the golf club for the use and management of the property.
However, the golf club was recently informed that the property has been put up for sale and this brings uncertainties as it is not clear how the new owners will use the property.
"We do not know what any new owners will do with the property but we know at the moment that the area is designated for sports and leisure," said the club's captain, Vishal Sewraj.
He said that the club has no issue with selling the property "but we just want it to maintain its designation for sports because any other development will mean that Mahe's only golf course could perish."
While not a sport that sees a number of spectators locally, golf in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, remains very important to those who play it and has created a number of players that are flying the Seychelles flag at international events.
Built almost 50 years ago on an old coconut plantation, the golf course is 4,992 yards with nine holes. It is located in the eastern district of Anse Aux Pins on Mahe, the main island. The golf course is around 10 minutes from the Seychelles International Airport at Pointe Larue.
The only other golf in Seychelles is on Praslin Island at the Lemuria Resort and the chairman of the Seychelles Golf Federation (SGF), Michael Lavigne, said that while this is an alternative venue, it will cost too much to hold tournaments. It will also come with additional costs for the players.
With the Seychelles Golf Club (SGC) celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, a number of tournaments have already been set. The Seychelles National Open will take place this weekend and everyone involved hopes that in the coming years they can still hold such tournaments at the Golf Club.
"Our concern is to save golf in Seychelles. It is a sport that has done so much for Seychelles now has professional golfers, such as William Weidner, who started golfing here, while Jaden Deltel, who is in South Africa for his professional programme, started playing golf here," said Sewraj.
The SGF and SGC have said that they have been receiving regular communications from Seychelles Breweries, who have been very open with them and even offered them the opportunity to put a group together to purchase the property, but at the moment, that doesn't look likely to happen.
"We have written to the president to express our concerns about the sale, whereas we said, we are not against it, but we just want the property to remain a golf course, rather than having buildings built there and lose the golf course entirely," Sewraj added.
In response to this plea, the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, made an appeal during his address at the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Seychelles Breweries.
"I would like to make an appeal to Diageo and Seychelles Breweries because you have been the company keeping golf alive in Seychelles and we need to have a little conversation about the matter," said Ramkalawan.