Golf devotee Ronnie Yeatman dies

HARARE - A service was held in Marondera yesterday in memory of Zimbabwean country districts golf stalwart Ronnie Yeatman, who died aged 77 at Borradale Trust Homes in the town last week.

Yeatman was a prominent farmer in the Chipinge and northern Lowveld area, growing mainly tomatoes and he was largely instrumental in the construction and running of Chipinge Sports Club and golf course.

He was also field manager of Hippo Valley sugar estates when he and others formed a committee to establish the golf club as a “twin” to Triangle. They chose a wooded site with ebony and other hardwood trees as well as Illala palms, and they created 14 holes that crossed the Mteri River.

During the very first game, an angry cobra had to be killed and there were always buffalo and eland to negotiate, as well as hippos and the occasional lion. This would have been roughly 1959.

Some 200 staff of Hippo Valley worked through Christmas and Boxing Day to lay grass greens under Yeatman’s supervision. Seven greens were later rebuilt by Yeatman and colleague Tim Field at their own expense.

He was prominent on the board of Hippo Valley for many years. At one time, it gained fame together with Triangle for jointly hosting the Rothmans-sponsored “Follow the Sun” tournament that attracted the best professionals and amateurs in the country each spring. – Own Correspondent

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