Clubs come up with ways to cushion caddies from effects of deadly virus

Wednesday May 13 2020

Bidco Africa's Sagar Dhodia (right) a member of Sigona Golf Club handing over donations to a caddie on April 28,2020. The club has started donation through their members to aid their caddies in the hard times of Covid-19,Cuddies receive foodstuffs after every three weeks. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Local golf clubs have continued supporting their caddies to cushion them from the effects of coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak of Covid-19 disease has led to suspension of all local sporting activities, including Kenya’s biggest golfing event, the Magical Kenya Open.

The European Tour-sanctioned event had been scheduled to be held from March 12 to 15, while the regional Safari Tour which is organised by the Kenya Open Golf Limited was due to start this month.

Also affected are clubs and national golf events which should have been on top gear by now. The suspension of the sporting activities and golf in particular, has left hundreds of caddies who usually earn a living by caddying for golfers at various clubs, with no income.

And while a number of clubs like Karen Country Club had a caddies fund before, others have had to seek the support of corporates in addition to contributions from individual members to keep caddies afloat.

At Karen Country Club, General Manager Sam Mwai says the club has a Benevolent Fund that was created years back to cater for the caddies welfare.

“Through the Fund, we pay, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), school fees for their children from Primary through to university. We also have a basic medical and pension scheme from this fund’’ said Mwai.

Every member pays Sh1,000 annually towards the kitty but with Covid-19 crisis, the club is also providing them with Sh2,000 weekly voucher for food and essential items. Members are at liberty to top up their contributions.

The club has a total of 160 registered caddies and they have a captain who ,together with club pro and golf captain, manage their affairs. Mwai believes that all local golf clubs should set up permanent caddies funds which will look after their welfare.


At Limuru Country Club, club captain Fred Ikana says the club has established a fund that has so far received great support from members and well-wishers.

“So far we have been able to give our caddies shopping vouchers and food rations to cushion them in the current situation,” he said.

“I thank the Oshwal Golfing Society through its captain Neeraj for facilitating some donations to the caddies. The society has generously supported our caddies by donating food rations. We are seeking more partnerships with other well-wishers, corporates and societies to support our caddies,’’ added Ikana.

Meanwhile, over 100 caddies and casual workers at Ruiru Sports Club have benefitted from food donations made by the facility’s members to cushion them from the impact of Covid-19.

Tens of casual workers were left with no source of income after the club shut down all its services except golf which is now highly controlled.

“The pandemic has grounded everything, and there is need for members to chip in and support those affected,” said the club’s outgoing captain Peter Mwaura.

Permanent staff at the club have however been sent on paid leave. Only skeleton staff, working in shifts, have been left to maintain the premises and the golf course.

To support the caddies and casuals, members have been contributing directly to a kitty run by a select committee made up of Professor Ciira Kiiyukia, Nyambura Kanja and David Kibui.

The team also constitutes of the incoming golf captain Thomas Mwaura, Vice Captain elect Jessy Ndegwa and the incoming Lady Captain Edith Ngugi. Other members led by Dr James Njagu and Dixon Waruingi on Thursday contributed foodstuff worth over Sh50,000.

At Thika Sports Club, a caddies welfare fund was set up three weeks by club members. This follows the banning of caddie services to all golf clubs by the ministry of health due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

By April 26 a total of Sh215,300 had been contributed by club members and a committee set up to manage the fund distributed foodstuff worth Sh143,717 to 124 caddies. Club captain Edward Nyamu has urged members to continue supporting the initiative using M-Pesa Paybill No 546655 and account No 2950.