Kenya Golf Union (KGU) encourages establishment of public golf courses
The Kenya Golf Union (KGU) is encouraging the establishment of public golf courses in Kenya to enable participation of the public and development of junior golfers.
The Chairman of KGU, Richard Wanjala encouraged County governments to set aside parcels of land that will be used in developing public golf courses for the future of Golf.
“The KGU will use its networks to help governors with designing the golf courses at affordable costs, and advising them on how to build membership and create trusts that can take the ownership of the lands that will be set aside,” he said.
Speaking in Kitale during a golf tournament on Saturday, Wanjala who is also the Director of Kenya Open Golf Limited noted the establishment of public golf courses will be an advantage over the development of golf among the younger generation and participation of the public.
“For a long time golf has been known to be the sport for the elitist but we want to remove that notion so that anybody loving the sport can participate,” he pointed out.
He said the membership fee of sh. 100,000 required for one to be a golfer at the golf clubs in Kenya has also discouraged and denied a majority of Kenyans who like the sport, creating a worrying trend for the future of golf. He said the Country has 42 golf clubs which constitutes the membership of the Kenya Golf Union.
Wanjala said most of the existing golf clubs were started in Pre-independence days by white settlers for their own entertainment and enjoyment and Kenyans at that time were merely working as caddies and the problem has been transferred to the current generation.
“Today majority of golfers are affluent….we want people of all classes to be included,” he added.
The Chairman, however, noted that during the Kenya Open golf tournament early this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta who was the chief guest directed the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Social Services to support the Kenya Golf Union in establishing a golf academy at the Lenana School for the training of Junior Golfers.
“Once established, it will be a national Academy for the sport of golf. It will be a facility that will be used by children and junior golfers coming from all parts of the Country,” he said.
Adding “the government has also revealed plans to help the Kenya Golf Union working with Sports Kenya and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Social Services and the Ministry of Tourism to build an 18 hole course at the Kasarani Stadium which will take golf to a higher level,”.
The Chairman said the performance of golf in Kenya has been poor over the years compared to the international scene due to lack of training of golfers while they are still in their tender age and that golfers play for leisure unlike for competition.
He said this has been noted for the annual golf event that is normally organized in Nairobi incorporating over 100 professional golfers under the European Challenge Tour.
Wanjala explained that for the last 90 years in which the challenge has been operational, all the money raised by Kenyans for the tournament has been won by oversees professionals.
He said Barclays’ bank which is the corporate sponsor of the European Challenge has been inking in Sh. 40Million every year for the tournament but Kenyan golfers have been losing.
“We are working hard to see how we can generate professionals of our own and Barclays bank has agreed to sponsor local series that can help local professionals to improve their skills to compete with the international professionals and through the public golf courses this will be realized easily,” he said.
By Moses Wekesa