At times in life, one meets selfless people who go above and beyond to give a helping hand to those who are needy in the society at no benefit to themselves. Sometimes, these people give of their time and resources not because they are wealthy, but that they are trying to make a difference in the society that they are living in.
This is the life of Henry Agwona, a Caddie at Eldoret Golf Club who has taken it upon himself to train underprivileged youth in Eldoret on how to play the game of golf.
I had a chat with him on what motivated him to start training kids, and this is what he had to say;
Tell us about yourself
My name is Henry Agwona and I work as a caddie at the Eldoret Club, I am also a golf instructor.
When did you start playing golf?
I started playing golf officially when I was about 21 years of age, this is when I became a caddie at the Eldoret Club. Unofficially, I can say that I started playing the game as a child, this is because my dad was a groundman at the Club. This meant that we lived in the staff quarters, however, we were not allowed on the course so what we used to do is wait until evening when everyone had left the course. Thereafter, we would go to the farthest hole where we could not be seen and play with wooden sticks as clubs. This is what developed my interest in the playing the game and I have been playing since then.
What is your handicap?
I have a Kenya Golf Union handicap of 2.
What inspired you to start coaching kids?
I started coaching kids when I realized that there many kids in the neighborhood who were interested in learning how to play the game but did not know how to go about it courtesy of the cost. As such, I started training the kids free of charge which got many interested and they started playing. When the parents started seeing the positive change in their kids, they started paying me a small fee of about Ksh. 200 as a token of appreciation.
The other reason why I started working with the kids, is that I realized that I was growing older and as such I could not progress my career in golf. This made me think of passing the knowledge that I have gathered over the years to the kids so that they can be able to start their journey in golf and hopefully soar to the heights that I did not manage to reach.
How many kids have you coached so far and are you a certified trainer?
So far, I have coached over 200 kids, they are drawn from both Eldoret Club and a school in town called Harton Grange Academy in Elgon View. The school does not have a course but there is a field that they have set aside where I usually go to train the kids.
I have not had the opportunity to get professional training to be a coach, but I usually read books on golf training techniques plus watching Youtube tutorials. I complement this with the knowledge that I have garnered over the years to ensure that I am a good trainer.
How has playing golf benefitted the kids?
The biggest benefit that I have seen in the kids who have taken up golf is at it has kept them away from things which would lead them astray. These are things like hanging out in cinema halls and in town doing nothing substantial where they are most likely to be influenced to join gangs or other criminal activities. This is because as soon as they close school, they usually come to the course to train which leaves them with little or no time to engage in such.
What do you think will be the impact of the Safaricom Golf Tour?
The Safaricom Golf Tour will go a long way in both demystifying and popularizing the game because the perception has been that it is a game for the rich which is not true. Also, in North Rift, we have had a challenge of having a few golf players unlike other regions like Nairobi. If the tour continues, I believe we will be able to get more players in this region taking up the game both kids and adults alike.
What would you like to tell kids who would like to start playing golf?
If you are out there and want to start playing golf, just go and register with the Junior Golf Foundation for Ksh. 1,000 annually. After this, you can go and play in any course in the country where you will only pay Ksh. 100 as green fees. If you are in Eldoret, just come to the club and we will give you the training that you need to start off your journey in golf. Also, consistency and determination are what will make a difference in whether you will be a good golf player or not.
The Safaricom Golf Tour is a 14-leg golf series which aims to tap, nurture and grow talent among young golfers across the country as well as demystify the game. So far the tour has had 6 legs with the last one being held at the Eldoret Golf Club. After Eldoret, the tournament will proceed to Karen Golf Club on 13th May 2022 before heading to Nyali on 21st May 2021.