Golfing in Kenya has a long and illustrious history that dates back to the 1900s. At the time, early settlers felt that each European community across the country needed to have a church, a club and a golf course. The legacy of this tradition is the very attractive, challenging and alluring golf courses scattered around the most beautiful regions of the country.
The first golf course to be built in the country was the Nairobi golf club which was opened in 1906, years later it became the Royal Nairobi Golf Club. Two other golf courses were opened four years later in 1910, that is the Meru Club (which is no longer operational) and the Nyeri Club. Mombasa Golf Club was opened shortly after in 1911. Over the years, other golf clubs have been opened culminating in the current number of 40 clubs which is more than any other African country except South Africa.
The golf community is for the most part tightly knit and reclusive which has made the game appear to be suited only for the elite. This has had an impact on many people who would have otherwise made good players to shy away from the game. This is due to the notion that it is an expensive game to play from purchasing the golf clubs to paying for club membership which can at time run to thousands of shillings.
It is due this reason that Safaricom has embarked on a golf tour that is meant to demystify the game. This was in a bid to show that anyone can be able to play this prestigious game and at the time nurture future talent. Towards this, the tour has included junior competitions, youth clinics and golf outreach programs.
These programs will be run in partnership with the Junior Golf Foundation and Kenya Golf Union. The tour will also feature a caddies’ tournament in partnership with the Kenya National Caddies Association. In October 2021, Safaricom partnered with other corporates to sign an agreement with the Junior Golf Foundation to support them with the training of coaches, local golf tours and nationwide golf development.
So far the tour has had two legs since it was launched in 22nd January that is one at Nanyuki Sports Club and another one at Limuru Golf Club. Cyprian Bundi, a former caddie and Nanyuki based golfer, emerged top in the first leg of the Safaricom Golf Tour after returning 39 Stableford points at the Nanyuki Sports Club. Taking the ladies top prize was Marion Githinji, who posted 33 to win by one point from Dr. Susan Ngure.
Whereas in Limuru, 15 year old junior golfer Leo Gitonga emerged as the overall winner with a total of 22 Stableford points in the first nine and 23 in the second nine, to produce a total score of 45 points to enable him to claim the overall title in the second leg. In the junior golf tournament, Belinda Wanjiru and Justine Ngeera scored 77 points and 82 points to retain their victories in the juniors’ girls’ and boys’ categories, respectively.
This weekend, the action heads to Muthaiga Golf Club for the third leg of the tour. The corporate tournament will be on Saturday 12th and the Junior Tournament being on 13th March 2022.
Click here to find out more about the tour.