Take golf to the people, President Kenyatta tells union

Tuesday March 22 2016

Barclays Kenya Open 2016 chief Marshall Ken Chege (in short trousers) directs President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) on the 18th hole fairway during Barclays Kenya Open final round on March 20, 2016 at Karen Golf and Country Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Barclays Kenya Open 2016 chief Marshall Ken Chege (in short trousers) directs President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) on the 18th hole fairway during Barclays Kenya Open final round on March 20, 2016 at Karen Golf and Country Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AYUMBA AYODI
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) to develop more public golf courses to take the game to the people.

Speaking before the prize-giving ceremony at this year’s Kenya Open golf tournament at the weekend, the president said Kenya should have more public golf courses other than the one at Golf Park. He directed KGU to liaise with relevant Government agency to develop another public course at Kasarani.

“Golf should be taken to the public so as to see ourselves succeed in the game,” the President said.

He also directed the Ministry of Sports to find ways of helping local pros improve their game to enable them perform well in major golf tournaments like the Kenya Open.

President Kenyatta issued the directive on Sunday after meeting Kenya’s leading pro Dismas Indiza, who had just finished play with a total of three-under 285 after his last round of three-over 75, tied in 38th overall.

The President, who arrived for the tournament at Karen Golf Club shortly after 1.30pm after Indiza had checked into the Club House, sought to talk to Indiza regarding his performance.

GOLFERS NEEDED SPONSORSHIP

“As we walked together after the last flight on 18th hole, the President sought to know how we had performed. I told him only three of us made the cut and that we could have done better had we been supported much earlier,” said Indiza.

Indiza said it is then that the President directed Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, who was present, to look into the issue.

“Wario then told Sports Principal Secretary Richard Ekai to convene a meeting with local pros to find a way forward,” said Indiza.

Indiza says he told the President local golfers needed sponsorship and support much earlier before the Kenya Open.

“We appreciate the support from SportPesa and Barclays Bank, but I wish it came much earlier when we were preparing for the tournament,” said Indiza. “Last-minute help doesn’t really assist us much.”

Indiza said there is no tournament planned for him after the Kenya Open. In contrast, most foreign players who competed at Karen will move to other tournaments.

The President added: “More Kenyans should enjoy the game of golf and it’s good if events like Kenya Open are televised live to those who are not in attendance.”

The Kenya Open Golf Limited chairman Peter Kanyango announced that Kenya Open will return to Muthaiga Golf Club next year from Karen Country Club that has hosted the event for the last five years.