First course in Kenya was built in Nairobi

Putting in Nyeri in 1910. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • He has served as Chairman of Kiambu Club and twice as Captain as well as Secretary General of the Kenya Golf Union and Trustee of the JGF.
  • He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Wasp Africa Limited, a digital marketing and communications company.        

I had an amusing moment in the course of compiling this book.

We were at a photoshoot at Muthaiga and I saw a member of the crew, who was not a golfer, kneeling down and staring at one of  the holes on the practice green.

I looked at him in amazement and he explained his predicament thus: “I wanted to find out what is inside that hole. I wanted to know whether the ball disappears and new one comes up.”

Golf in Kenya started around the early 1900s when a course was laid out on King Africa Rifles land excised between the KAR headquarters and Upper Hill Road.

The first nine was completely functioning in 1907. A clubhouse was built in 1906 and called the Nairobi Golf Club which is today the Royal Nairobi Golf Club.

This makes Royal Nairobi Golf Club the oldest golf club and course in Kenya.

Golf has grown over time especially in the last few years and is now played on better courses and with better equipment.

Those who played in yester years marvel at the technical improvement on the equipment.

This ranges from the wooden clubs to today’s exceptional, long hitting metal woods, from hickory shafts to graphite and titanium and from the guttered ball, to the 1.62-inch ball that had a rubber core filled with caustic liquid and then bands of rubber were tied all-round the core and finished with the outer cover.

The golf courses in Kenya are owned by golf clubs. These golf clubs fall into three categories; Private, Semi-Private, Public and Enterprise.

Private clubs are owned by the members who join it under a set of regulations. Anyone desiring to be a member pays an entrance fee and every year they pay subscriptions.

The members are in total control of the affairs of the club and they elect their own boards or committees. These clubs are Not-for-profit Institutions.

Public clubs are open to all and would normally be owned by local councils or golf unions. Kenya does not have such a facility as yet.

This lack of such a club is what is driving the KGU to develop the county golf parks initative and also the golf course at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Enterprise clubs are just that. They are wholly commercial and would normally have only a small section of membership.

Examples of these are Great Rift Valley in Naivasha, Rea Vipingo in Vipingo, Kilifi, Migaa Golf Estate in Kiambu or Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club in Nairobi.