Frankie Minoza, the living legend of Philippine golf, attended the JGFP Pueblo de Oro Junior Open over the weekend, spending three days with wide-eyed participants who were not even born yet when he was making his name in the Japan and Asian tours.
“This is my way of giving back to the sport,” said the 63-year-old multi-titled golfer from nearby Del Monte, Bukidnon.
Minoza drove from his Del Monte home to Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club daily starting with the practice round on Friday until the awarding ceremony on Sunday.
People saw a different side of Minoza who smiled at the camera every time he had his photo taken with participants, their parents, and tournament organizers.
He showed them a glimpse of his world-class swing when he hit the ceremonial teeoff on Saturday, drawing cheers from the big crowd.
The guy can still hit the ball.
Minoza has kept himself in shape even during the offseason. He jogs seven kilometers daily from Mondays to Fridays, does squats, and lifts weights to strengthen his muscles.
He’s still active on the tour but admitted that the desire to win has diminished. He’s enjoying testing his skills against players more than half his age.
“Frankie is a perfect role model,” said John Gaisano, whose family supported the Davao and Pueblo de Oro legs of the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines.
JGFP president Oliver Gan said he’s over the moon for the support of Minoza and other top pros like former Philippine Open champions Artemio Murakami and Elmer Salvador.
“We are grateful for the time they shared with the children. We will continue to hold tournaments in Mindanao,” said Gan as he paid tribute to the all-out support of Pueblo de Oro general manager Gil Blas Velez and Ronnie Canlas, who handles the club’s junior golf program.
Pueblo de Oro entered into a memorandum of agreement with the JGFP, providing a 50-percent discount for the use of its golf course and facilities.
The same arrangement was given by Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club, Mimosa Golf Club, Riviera Sports Club, and Club Intramuros, its latest addition.
On Monday, JGFP met with officials of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, led by Mark Lapid, to sign the MoA.
Club Intramuros, a par-64 course measuring just 4,326 yards, is a favorite JGFP venue. The ongoing D-League is held there.
The new JGFP leadership is off to a hot start in its desire to bring the sport to the grassroots.
On top of the tournaments held in Davao and Cagayan de Oro cities, the JGFP also has ongoing free weekend golf clinics in Zamboanga City.
The JGFP has laid out a hectic tournament schedule, including a stop in Cebu City in April.