The Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) Tuesday released dates for the 2019/20 Safari Tour Golf Series.
The revamped series will now include 12 events across four East African countries; with seven events being held in Kenya, three in Uganda and one each in Rwanda and Tanzania.
Commenting on the 2019/20 schedule, Patrick Obath, the Safari Tour tournament director, said that going into East Africa was part of President Uhuru Kenyatta's request.
“When we mooted the idea of a professional golf tour in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked us to include our junior golfers of either gender, our elite amateur golfers and to ensure that we invite and include our brothers and sisters from the East African region. We have been in discussion with the golf leadership in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and we are delighted to announce that the Safari Tour will now be played in those nations,” revealed Obath.
In Uganda, the well-established Uganda Open, which has a Sh5 million ($50,000) prize fund, will now be part of the Safari Tour as well as the Entebbe Open and Kitante Open tournaments. The Uganda Open which has over the past five years attracted players from as far as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the East African countries, will be held at the prestigious Lake Victoria Serena Resort from September 9 to 14.
Obath said this year's Tour will also include junior and elite amateurs of either gender as it's not just about promoting professional golf but amateurs as well. He said each event, save for the Uganda Open and Rwanda Open, will have a minimum prize fund of Sh1 million ($10,000). The prize money for the Rwanda Open will be Sh3 million ($30,000).
“The Uganda Open and the Rwanda Open will now be part of the Safari Tour and what this simply means is that pros participating in those events will earn points on the Safari Tour ranking enabling them to qualify for the Magical Kenya Open in a fair and transparent manner. We are still in discussions with Tanzania on dates and venues for a leg of the Safari Tour there,” Obath added.
The series according to the calendar just released, starts this weekend at Nyali Golf and Country Club course Mombasa, with the Pro-Am set for Saturday while the professionals will be battling it out from Sunday to Wednesday next week.
“Registration for membership of the Tour and for entry into the first event at Nyali is open on www.safaritour.golf and we invite all golf professionals across East Africa and across Africa to register and join us. We are also inviting the top junior and elite amateurs of either gender to register and join us. This Tour is keen to promote not only the professional golfers but also our juniors and top amateurs who aspire to play professional golf soon,” Obath said.
From Nyali, the series will move to Uganda, for the Uganda Open at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Club on September 9 to 14. The Royal Nairobi Golf Club will host the third leg of the Tour from October 12 to 16, before heading back to Uganda for the fourth leg, the Entebbe Open at the Entebbe Golf Club course which is East Africa’s oldest course, from October 30 to November 2.
The Rwanda Open is set for November 6 to 9 at Kigali Golf Club before the series heads back to Kenya at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort Naivasha from November 23 to 27 and close the year at Muthaiga Golf Club from December 14 to 18.
The 2020 section of the events will then kick-off with the eighth leg at Thika Greens Resort on January 4 to 8 followed by the ninth leg at Sigona on January 25 to 29. The Kitante Open at Uganda Golf Club will be staged on February 12 to 15 before the 11th leg at Karen Country Club on February 22 to 26.
Dates for the Tanzania Open whose venue has been listed as Kiligolf Resort at Usa River between Arusha and Moshi will be announced later. The Kenyan events will be sponsored by Magical Kenya and the Absa Group.