Junior Golf Foundation suspends caddy training at Nakuru Club

Wednesday May 13 2020

Caddies at Nakuru Golf Club who were hoping to undergo a training organised by the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) so as to improve their skills in the gentleman’s game will have to wait longer, thanks to coronavirus pandemic.

Caddies at the 91-year-old uphill course were slated to start the training in August this year but JGF has suspended the programme due to outbreak of the deadly virus.

“We had drawn a detailed training programme for caddies to equip them with golf skills which they could use to training rookies at the club and earn a living,” JGF regional co-ordinator for Central Rift Valley Stephen Kihumba said on Monday.

Besides using the skills to put food on the table, caddies training would also enable them perform well in tournaments.

Kihumba said prior to the launch of the training programme by JGF, only professional golfers were allowed to train upcoming golfers in their respective clubs.

“This is a new training programme. When it resumes after Covid-19 crisis is over, it will prove a game changer for caddies as it will improve their playing skills and boost their earnings,” said Kihumba, who is also the chairperson of Nakuru Golf Club.

Hundreds of caddies in seven golf clubs in Central Rift region were scheduled to undergo the training as part of JGF’s initiative to demystify the notion that golf is a preserve of the elite and the rich.

“We also want to discover fresh talent in the sport, and to sponsor some of them to exploit their talents in local and international tournaments,” Kihumba told Nation Sport on Monday.

Some of the clubs in the region with a vibrant pool of caddies include Njoro Golf Club, Gilgil Golf Club and Kenya Military Academy (KMA) Lanet.

Others are the Country Golf Club and the Great Rift Golf Club (both in Naivasha) and Nakuru Golf Club which has about 60 caddies, among them seven women who are hoping to make a maiden appearance on the course.

Nakuru Club’s top caddies John Kamais and Gentol Esto are among the beneficiaries of past training programmes. They have been participating in national golf tournaments for caddies. That has seen them earn vital points that put them on the path to turning professional at a later date, with a chance of qualifying to play in Kenya Open championship.

Caddies who have a passion for the sport cannot afford the expensive equipment, and lack training skills despite spending a great deal of their time in the course.

Meanwhile, more than 300 golfers at Nakuru Golf Club have distributed foodstuff worth Sh250,000 to the caddies and staff to cushion them against the effects of coronavirus.

Each member contributes Sh2,000 per month, but others have given up to Sh30,000.