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Kenya golf book now in stores

Wednesday July 22 2020
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Former Kenya Golf Union chairman Richard Wanjalla (right) hands over The Game of Golf in East Africa book to Nation Media Group's veteran writer Larry Ngala on October 3, 2017 at Karen Country Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LARRY NGALA

A book detailing the official history of golf in the country is now in the market.

“Kenya Through The Lens - Of Golf”, offers a fulsome browse for anyone who plays the game.  

Complied by Sam Kamau and with an input from veteran Nation Media golf writer, Larry Ngala, the book stands tall as the most thorough and authoritative single reference of the moments and milestones that mark the evolution of an eccentric niche sport into a significant social force that has captivated tens of thousands right across the land, with an institutional status that has earned national respect and global recognition. 

It was commissioned in 2018 by the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) while celebrating it's 90th anniversary.

It is a high-quality and necessarily weighty book, with more than 300 pages of narrative, nearly 1,000 pictures, and tabulated honours’ boards.

 It profiles every major club and tournament in Kenya from start-up to date, and it is a “Who’s Who” of notable establishment figures and leading players who have guided the sport here for nearly a century.  Indeed, the book is specifically dedicated to them.

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The book is available at the KGU offices at Muthaiga Golf Club, book stores in Nairobi at Village Market, Yaya Bookshop, Westgate and the Karen Country Club Pro-Shop at a cost of Sh4500.

Numerically, Kenya is a speck, well short of even one percent of the world’s golf, but in this game, as in so many other ways, Kenya punches well above its weight in achievement, international involvement and respect.  

Though Kenya has only 42 major golf courses (in a global total of 35,000!), several of them are of such high quality and in such exotic settings that they host major international tournaments and represent a prestigious tourist attraction. 

The story of this evolution, the characters and plots necessary to achieve it,  the countless anecdotes of the process and analysis of the indirect impacts on wider society, could be richly entertaining but not possible to capture in a single book.  

KGU focused very much on producing the most up-to-date and comprehensive “official” record, gathering and consolidating known, but scattered facts over a very wide range of people, places, events and times.  

That alone is a magnum opus, and the result is a painstakingly thorough, objective and positive chronicle, delivered with the good etiquette the game so diligently stands for.  In that respect it takes a proud place in the history it reports.    
 
That was the intention, not an oversight, as confirmed by the project’s champion, 2018  KGU Chairman Richard Wanjalla, and the book’s lead author, Sam Kamau.   

In his foreword to the new book, Wanjalla hopes there will be many more publications on the subject…because there is so much more to tell - anecdotally and analytically - about the past, the present and surely growing future, from so many additional angles.

The KGU book delivers the Who’s Who and many of the Whens and Wheres.  For the Hows and Whys (and why nots) you will have to read between the formal lines, or spend more time at the 19th hole, or wait for the authors (or others) to pick up their pens again.  

If there is a bottom line to this central work it is that Kenyans – in a fuller diversity than perhaps any other sport – love golf!  

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