Veteran Zimbabwean golf coach Roger Baylis died on Saturday in Harare aged 84 years.
The country’s top-ranked professional golfer Scott Vincent led the tributes for Baylis yesterday immediately after winning the Asian Tour’s International Series Order of Merit following his top-10 finish at the Indonesia Masters.
The win earned Vincent a permanent place on the lucrative LIV Golf Series for next year and the Zimbabwean star acknowledged he would not have reached such lofty heights without Baylis’ mentorship. He spoke to NewsDay:
I dedicated my (Asian Tour International Series) win to Roger Baylis. He is the reason I get to do what I’m doing.
ZGA president Martin Chikwana described Baylis as a legend of not only the sport of golf but the entire sporting fraternity in Zimbabwe. Chikwana said:
Roger Baylis is an icon and a legend within golf as well as the entire sporting fraternity in general.
His passion for Junior golf development was unparalleled. His commitment to golf administration went beyond measure. We have lost a very passionate individual whose ability to identify and nature talent went beyond the call of duty. He will be fondly missed by all his golfing colleagues and the entire golfing community in Zimbabwe and beyond.
Baylis was born in Gloucester in the west of England in 1938 and only discovered golf at the age of 20.
He moved to Zimbabwe in 1979 to take up the role of professional golfer at Warren Hills Golf Club.
Baylis then moved to Chapman Golf Club in 1986, where he was the head professional until he retired recently.
Baylis helped establish the careers of some of the country’s leading golfers such as the Vincent brothers Scott and Kieran and former US PGA Tour campaigner Brendon de Jonge.
Other names that also come to mind include the likes of Mark Cayeaux, Gary Thompson, Bruce McDonald, Nyasha Mauchaza, Clive Nguru and Ray Badenhorst, as well as top amateurs Keegan Shutt, Tafadzwa and Margaret Nyamukondiwa and David Amm to mention but a few.
In total, Baylis, a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Golf award by the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA), coached over 80 youngsters who subsequently turned professional over a period of 40 years.