Zimbabwean golf icon Roger Baylis dies

The Herald

Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter

ROGER Baylis, the long-serving head professional at Chapman Golf Club and national coach of the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA), has died.

He was 80.

Baylis passed away at his home on Saturday afternoon.

Baylis suffered from knee arthritis which made it difficult for him to walk and he even attended this year’s Zimbabwe Open Golf Championship using a cart.

 He had one of the legs operated on without any success and went to India in early 2015 for another corrective surgery.

ZGA president, Martin Chikwana, said the association and the local golfing fraternity has been robbed of an icon.

“We have lost a pillar of strength in Roger. He was a father-figure, a teacher and mentor. He taught me through the ranks and we cannot talk of Zimbabwean golf without mentioning Roger. Every junior golfer passed through the hands of Roger.

“He gave me assurance when I took over as the ZGA president and he was part of the coaching staff where he developed so many golfers,” said Chikwana.

Zimbabwe Open Committee members, Michael Mahachi and Livingstone Gwata, were also at a loss of words.

“Baylis was a very good coach who made work easy for several golfers and administrators. The country has lost a legend,” they stated.

Royal and Ancient, Africa representative, Eden Thompson, described Baylis as a rock.

“He was a rock to Zimbabwean golf. For many years I have known him he was very friendly and cooperative,” said Thompson. 

Another local golfer Chaga Chagaresango also paid tribute to Baylis who he also described as an icon of local golf.

“It’s with great sadness to let you all know that Roger Baylis passed away (on Saturday afternoon). We have lost a fine gentleman and an icon of Zimbabwean golf. May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace,’’ Chagaresango said.

Baylis, together with his eldest son Mike, set up the Baylis Golf Academy in 2014 at Chapman.

Baylis was the long-serving head professional at Chapman and national coach of the Zimbabwe Golf Association.

He got the job at Chapman in 1986 after moving from Warren Hills Golf Club. A lot of junior golfers followed Roger Baylis to Chapman while other juniors came from Royal Harare. 

Players that benefited from Baylis’ expertise in golf are Mark Cayeaux, the late Lewis Muridzo, Brendan de Jonge, Bruce McDonald, Nyasha Mauchaza, Scott Vincent, Clive Nguru and Ray Badenhorst, among many others. 

One of his recent prodigies, Scott Vincent, is currently one of the best professionals in the world while Scott’s young brother, Kieran, also benefited from the late 80-year-old coach’s input.

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