Quinton Sherlock Jr makes African adventure a teaching experience
Quinton Sherlock Jr has ended a hiatus from competitive golf for a very worthy cause.
The Bermudian professional competed at the Gold Fields PGA Championship in Ghana last week primarily to inspire the students and disadvantaged children that he teaches in the West African country and prove to them that he can practise what he preaches.
“I had not played at all for over two years but was still heavily involved in golf through my works with Ace It Foundation, teaching golf to disadvantaged children from Gomoa-Fetteh where I live and also at Achimota Golf Club in the capital of Accra,” Sherlock said.
“After not playing at all, I had to prove to the youth I coach that I could also play, so my comeback was a large part to try and offer some more inspiration to the juniors here. The passion still burns inside of me.”
Sherlock finished joint seventeenth among the 21-strong field at the 72-hole championship with a combined 31-over-par 319.
“The course was a bit soggy because of daily rains but played very interesting,” said Sherlock, whose best round was a two-over 74 in the third round.
“It was my first time there so that lack of experience really showed on the first two days.
“The event was well organised and run, in particular given the Covid-19 situation.”
The championship that Sherlock qualified for was held at the Damang Golf Course, which rests atop of one of the largest gold mines on the African continent in Western Region.
“The course is a bit tricky in that one has to know where to position their ball,” said Sherlock, who holds affiliate member status on the Ghana PGA. “You cannot just hit it long and go. Certain holes you have to hit a mid-iron off the tee simply for position before going at the green.”
The former Southampton Rangers cricketer was accompanied at the tournament by his father, Quinton Sr, himself a former top footballer and cricketer at the same club back in his heyday.
“This experience has been made extra special because my dad was here walking the course in support of my efforts,” Quinton Jr said.
Having gotten his competitive juices flowing again, Sherlock is now “motivated to work hard” on his game and compete as much as he possibly can.
“Playing professionally has been my dream from my youth,” he added. “To be able to fulfil it in the motherland, specifically Ghana, is only icing on the cake for me.”
The 41-year-old says the popularity of the sport is growing on the African continent.
“Golf is popular with a healthy number of professional golfers and, as in most jurisdictions, we are continuously working to develop the game more at a grassroot level here,” Sherlock said.
“I would say that its popularity is growing more, as the sport is gaining greater exposure.”
Sherlock moved to Ghana seven years ago seeking “new challenges and opportunities”.
After completing a course in African Studies at the University of Ghana, he got involved in charity work and started his own non-governmental organisation with a friend.
“Our focus is introducing disadvantaged young people to golf and helping them with their education,” he added. “So as our work developed, I also had to recreate myself to meet the needs on the ground.”
Sherlock had to make a “major adjustment” acclimatising to his new surroundings. But it was an adjustment he was well prepared for.
“To return to the land of my ancestors, give back through my work with the young people and fulfil my own childhood dreams and aspirations is a win all around,” he said. “So I give thanks for all that life has offer to allow me to reach this point.
“I look forward to continuing the work and helping others experience the opportunities being in Ghana or anywhere on the continent can bring.”