Featured image courtesy of Akoi Flomo (Professional Liberian Golfer).
Every weekend, 33-year-old professional golfer Akoi Flomo spends hours teaching Liberian kids how to golf. They meet at the Firestone Golf Club, a 9-hole course in Margibi, to practice the fundamentals of the game.
“I want to change the mindset that Liberia is just about football and politics,” Flomo told Go Team Liberia. More importantly Flomo wants more Liberians playing golf — especially the younger generation.
Golfing with kids at Firestone
Flomo, who practically grew up on the Firestone golf course, has won many local and international tournaments, though he admits the Liberian competitions are few and inconsistent. Still, thanks to his great relationship with the Firestone Golf Club, he’s allowed to practice his game free of charge. It was during one of these practices that he noticed several young kids in the community watching him play.
“Most of the kids when they’re passing around they see me on the golf course and want to see me play,” Flomo said. “They want to learn the game, but they don’t have the opportunity.”
After noticing the curiosity surrounding him, Flomo called the handful of children onto the course to learn some golf moves. The teaching sessions started organically in June 2023 with seven children and has grown to 15 kids. It grew so quickly that Flomo had to bring in others to help train the kids, including his older brother Edwin. Flomo explained how a typical training session works.
“On Saturdays, we practice from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and on Sundays we practice from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. then the kids head home.” Flomo provides water for the kids and snacks like popcorn, on some occasions.
Parents feel good about golf lessons
All of the kids who train with Flomo have parents who work for the Firestone Natural Rubber Company in Liberia. The kids range from ages 7 to 15 years old and pick up the game very quickly, according to Flomo.
“The parents feel good,” Flomo said. “They’re happy because it keeps [their kids] from getting in trouble in the community.”
But the parents aren’t the only ones grateful for Flomo’s leadership, the Firestone Golf Club management team has taken an interest as well and allowed the kids to train on the course with Flomo for free. Flomo said the Golf club managers have even started clearing a small area for the kids to practice.
Future of youth golfers in Liberia
Flomo draws spectators in with his love for the game and his passion for developing golf in Liberia. Expat golfers have even contributed to his cause because of this. As Flomo shared with GTL, a woman who works at the U.S. embassy donated a golf set her daughter had outgrown. Golf has the potential to flourish in Liberia.
Flomo cited three main golf courses: Firestone Golf Club, Seaview Golf Club, and a gulf club in Buchanan. Though there’s room for more golf spaces in Liberia, the current courses are a foundation for the sport. With professionals like Flomo leading the way for the next generation there’s hope for golf in Liberia.
“I feel good because working with these kids they are always happy,” Flomo said. “When they come out they ask questions and they’re learning very fast.”
People who want to support Flomo and his growing youth golf program can reach out to him via his Facebook page.