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FOR THE LOVE OF GOLF
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13 September 2014

The story of the establishment of the Oceania Golf School located at the Novotel Hotel in Nadi is somewhat of a modern day love story.

Jimmy and Johanna Luita are from different spheres of life but love and golf is the glue that makes them stick.

The couple are the proud founders and managers of the Oceania Golf School, a 9-hole golf training course in Votualevu, minutes from the Nadi International airport.

“My husband is originally from Serua and lived in Pacific Harbour so he practically grew up on the golf course so this is where his passion naturally lies. Even though he got into other sports growing up but unsurprisingly he fell back into golf. He not only loves playing the game, he also loves teaching it.”

Even though she wasn’t a fan of the ‘gentlemen’s game’, she was willing to follow her husband’s dream as they devoted all their time and resources into turning this passion into a business.

“I never shared the passion for golf and even learning the game, I didn’t really see the point but it was my husband’s passion. That also got me to appreciate the etiquette and character of the game.”

The couple registered their business in 2010 but had not made concrete plans as to how or when they were going to start up a golf training school.

Jimmy had established himself as a golf trainer having worked with the National Golf Association of Fiji travelling around the country to teach golf in schools. Initially, they had operated from Pacific Harbour where they lived and Jimmy would receive bookings for his services to train golf enthusiasts.

With the high level of rainfall in the central division, the weather conditions were not conducive to the business of golf, professional or otherwise.

In December 2010, the couple travelled to Nadi to attend to a group of clients. One thing led to another, the couple decided to make this their new home and start up the business that they had been dreaming about.

“We completed the group in January 2011 but during this time, we had received more requests. We had a discussion with the management here at the Novotel and they thought it was a great idea. They had a huge lawn which took a lot of effort to look after. So, not only did we do that for them, we also provided an additional service for guests staying at the hotel.”

“We started our first lesson here in Novotel with only $50. Two children’s lesson with $15 each and an adult for $20. Every sale we got from then, we saved and bought new clubs and equipment and merchandise. So we basically started from scratch with no funding from outside.”

They continue to patiently build their business and by June 2012, as word of mouth spread, they realised that the business had a lot of potential in Nadi.

“We never approached any banks for financing because we thought we didn’t have anything to offer. We approached FDB for a farming loan so that we had a backup and also money from that for the golf business. We were surprised that they also provided financing for golfing schools and we are thankful to them for that.”

The couple were approved a loan in December 2013 from FDB for the purchase of a vehicle, a lawn mower and other golf accessories boosting the business further to meet the increasing customer demands.

“The vehicle has enabled us to carry out our clinics in Ba every Wednesdays and Thursdays along the Coral Coast and Fridays in Pacific Harbor and the Primary Schools around Navua.”
 
The new access has given Oceania Golf School more confidence to improve their services especially in the Tourism market as they teach on Denarau Golf and Racquet Golf Course. Recently, the school has embarked it development program on Naviti Resort Golf Course. 

“We are very thankful to FDB for having faith in us as. One of our major weaknesses was the fear of going out of our comfort zones and looking for finance. Now we are in a better position not only to serve more customers but to provide a better service.”

Assisting entrepreneurs achieve their dreams is something we do well at FDB. Our greatest satisfaction is turning people’s passion into an income source and this is what sets us apart from the competition.

-End-

Caption: Jimmy & Johanna Luita at their training school in Nadi

 

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