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Golfers backpedal as lake drowns Kisumu’s course

Friday July 31 2020
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Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o (right) leads residents during the launch of a 10-day Lake Victoria clean-up exercise at River Kisat at Nyanza Golf club in Kisumu on March 3, 2020. Following compliance inspection by factories and facilities operating around the lake basin, the rapid result initiative by the regional environment committee has shifted focus to solid waste disposal into the lake. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VICTOR OTIENO

When Lake Victoria backflowed sometime in April due to heavy rains, Kisumu’s Nyanza Golf Club was one of the many places affected by this turn of nature.

A large section of the golf course was submerged in water, with some of those who inspected the affected area at the time even encountering fish therein.

Then, there were no activities on the course due to Covid-19 restrictions.

That’s why Albert Ojonyo, the immediate former secretary general at the club, never bothered much at the time.

He had hoped that it would not take long before the water flowed back into the lake, leaving the course in right shape for tee-off.

But three months down the line, the situation is not different, forcing golfers to make do with a limited tee-off area.

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RE-DESIGN THE COURSE

Some of the areas which have been cut-off by the flooding are part of hole one, hole six on the fairway side, along with holes nine and 18 where the tee-box areas cannot be accessed.

Ojonyo said the flooding of the four holes has forced them to re-design the course, as the men now tee from the ladies’ sections.

They also repeat some holes in the area that have not been affected.

“For my case, it is only on Monday that I played after missing out for about three months. But I never enjoyed it because of the damage the water has caused,” said the former club secretary.

Together with professional golfer David Odhiambo, he ruled out the possibility of the course - which is home to about 80 regular golfers - hosting any major tournament soon soon.

He said the place must first be renovated, a process that will consume a lot of resources and time.

“Holding a tournament any time soon will not be possible until the water from back into the lake.

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Residents join in on a clean-up exercise during the launch of a 10-day Lake Victoria clean-up exercise at River Kisat at Nyanza Golf club in Kisumu on March 3, 2020. After compliance inspection of factories and facilities operating around the lake basin, the rapid result initiative by the regional environment committee has shifted focus to solid waste disposal into the lake. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“If we are to do the repair, it will mean that we have to do back filling to raise the land, but the damage is so huge that the club cannot afford it,” said Ojonyo.

Their only hope as a permanent solution to the problem is if the national government and Kisumu County Government keep their word to develop the lake front.

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