CFoGA: Mini Games hosting highlight of ’22
Like all sports associations that helped organize the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, the CNMI’s successful hosting of the quadrennial event is the highlight of the Commonwealth Federation of Golf Associations this past year.
CFoGA president Edward Manibisan said the board was quite active last year behind the leadership of himself, vice president J.J. Atalig and secretary/treasurer Lorraine, Babauta.
“We organized as we were tasked with running the golf event for the Mini Games. We brought in many great volunteers, Gery and Joey Dela Cruz, Jack Diaz, and Erlinda Naputi. We did several tryouts and eventually formed a team and did several fundraising activities to support the federation in running the Mini Games,” he said.
The CNMI attorney general said the cherry on top was when the CNMI bagged two medals in the golf event that contributed to the islands’ historic performance in the 2022 edition of the sports event.
Zhimin Jin won the gold medal in the women’s individual golf event, besting veteran par-busters twice her age; while the foursome of Franco Santos, J.J. Atalig, Joshua Atalig, and Zhi Yun Li salvaged a bronze medal in the men’s team golf event.
“We medaled in the ladies and men’s competition. The CNMI had not medaled in any Pacific Games before. It was a lot of work and dedication and thankfully the golf competition went without a hitch. I want to thank all the volunteers who showed up early in the mornings and stayed throughout the competition,” he said.
As for moving forward in 2023, Manibusan said CFoGA is planning to start or provide support to a junior golf program and develop a unified and standardized handicap system for all federation members.
“The junior program is to develop golf skills for junior golfers hopefully achieving a scholarship at major colleges and universities. With regards to the unified handicap, the members will get a [United States Golf Association] handicap that will be useful to tournament directors in placing the players on a tournament roll based on his or her skills.”
Lastly, Manibusan wants CFoGA to engage local golf courses in considering a stable flat local rate for all resident golfers regardless of whether it’s tourist season or not.
The chief law enforcement official of the CNMI then encouraged local golfers to, “enjoy the game of golf safely and with golf etiquette and rules in mind. I invite all golf associations to join the CNMI golf federation.”
Manibusan said the golf federation can be a voice for all the member associations in addressing issues concerning the use of public lands for golf course development, for instituting golf programs in the schools, and other areas beneficial to its membership.