Preparations for the biggest and richest golf tournament on the Zimbabwe calendar, the Zimbabwe Open with a total prize money of 1.8 million rand are now in full swing.

The venue of the tournament, Royal Harare Golf Club is a hive of activity as final touches to the course itself and other ancillary facilities are being put in place ahead of the tournament next week.

The dates for the 2017 Golden Pilsner Zimbabwe Open have been set for the 20th to the 23rd of this month although a pre-qualifier tournament is slated for the 17th.

Royal Harare Golf Club course is a par 72 golf course.

Despite doubts hanging over the staging of the annual tournament due to sponsorship challenges preparations began in earnest last August.

General Manager Ian Mathieson says despite its manicured lush appearance, Royal Harare Golf Club is indeed no pushover as the course rewards shrewd shot choice and course management.

Many golfers have been lulled into carelessness by the semblance of ease that the course projects, only to be humiliated.

Sadly no local pro has won the tournament since its return from a 10 year hiatus.

Only Andersen Rusike an amateur, Marc McNulty and Mick Price have won the tournament since its inception in 1986.

It remains to be seen whether local professionals will break the jinx this year.

The tournament was launched on Thursday without a title sponsor although financial services giant, Old Mutual, Nyaradzo Group t/a Sahwira Events Management and Delta Beverages through its Golden Pilsner brand were named as associate sponsors, while Tongaat Hullett and ZOL Zimbabwe anchor sponsors.