All golf clubs shut down over coronavirus

Wednesday May 13 2020
funga_pix

Golfers walk with their caddies on the fairway on February 22, 2020 during the Muthaiga Open at Muthaiga Golf Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

By LARRY NGALA

The Kenya Golf Union (KGU) has asked for the total closure of golf clubs and club houses in the country in order to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country following a similar directive by the government.

In a press statement issued yesterday, the KGU chairman Anthony Murage said a number of golf clubs have not been adhering to the guidelines issued by the government recently.

He said golfers have been congregating within club premises in direct contravention of the current directives given to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Following the announcement from the Ministry of Health on Tuesday April 7, 2020 about the closure of all golf clubs and club houses, the Kenya Golf Union has received a number of enquiries from golf clubs seeking guidance on ways to operate during these difficult times.

There are 39 golf clubs affiliated to KGU.

"The union has sought clarification from the Ministry of Health in this regard," said Murage.

He added: “The reason the Ministry of Health has taken this action is due to the non-compliance of many golfers who have continued to congregate within the club premises in direct contravention of the current directives given to help stop the spread of Covid-19."

SUSPEINGING HANDICAPS

Murage said the Ministry of Health had given five directives.

The KGU has also taken the unprecedented action of suspending all handicaps in the country for a period of 30 days.

“All clubs are therefore not allowed to hold any competitions that require golf handicaps for this period. Clubs must stop organising all formal activities’’ added Murage whose statement was also copied to the Cabinet Secretary of Health Mutahi Kagwe.

Meanwhile, former Gatanga member of Parliament Peter Kenneth on Tuesday distributed food stuff to Vet Lab Sports Club caddies who are not earning any income at the moment, as a results of the closure of the golf club.

Addressing the caddies before making the donation, Kenneth said people were fighting on the streets over food due to the challenging times and hence no social distancing which is a key measure to curbing the Covid-19.

“This is why I decided to bring the food stuff to be equally distributed among the caddies by the Caddies Leadership Committee," said Kenneth.

The food stuff included 135 bales of Unga and 120 hampers.

The hampers included six kilos of sugar and beans each, two kilos of dengu, four packets of milk, two packets of Kasuku cooking oil, one kilo of tea leaves, bar soaps, Pembe porridge flour, salt, and boxes of kaluma.

Kenneth said the food items will keep the caddies going until the club opens and golfers resume their playing activities.

Directives issued by health ministry

1. Closure of Club Houses: All club houses must be closed forthwith. Golfers must not be allowed to access the club house for any services

2. Self-caddied golf: Golfers can play golf as long as they do not use the services of caddies and strictly maintaining social distancing. For this, golfers can either play alone, in twos or threes. The starting intervals must be at least 10 minutes and golfers must not gather at the starters

3. No congregation: All clubs must strictly ensure that there is strictly no congregation on the club premises

4. No reciprocation: Clubs should only be open to their members and should not allow guests or reciprocation

5. Caddies financial support: Due the stoppage of use of caddies, the clubs are urged to set up caddie welfare kitty in support of the caddies who will be affected by this directive