Naomi keeps her eyes on the ball amid coronavirus restrictions

Wednesday May 13 2020
By LARRY NGALA

A number of leading golfers have had to find ways of keeping fit in readiness for the resumption of golfing activities in the country.

All golf clubs in the country have been closed and all social activities and services including those offered by the caddies suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) ordered a closure of golf clubs, a number of golfers were still frequenting their clubs for friendlies even minus the services of the caddies.

It was, however, discovered that, most of them were not strictly following the Government’s virus guidelines.

The closure order threw golfers off guard.

However, Kitale-based female golfer Naomi Wafula has decided to keep herself fit and ready to return to action when the government eventually allows sporting activities.

The 22-year-old Wafula, a former national ladies champion who has represented the country from the age of 15 years, started the 2020 by winning the season’s first Ladies Open at Sigona on February 15.

This victory earned her a place in the Kenya Ladies team along with Vet Lab’s Channelle Wangari and Agnes Nyakio.

SOCIAL GATHERINGS

The team had started training under Muthaiga professional Nelson Mudanyi at Muthaiga before the government suspended social gatherings.

“This year I was really looking forward to great things on the golf course. I started off the year by participating in the Safari Tour tournaments which is for men and I got the opportunity from KGU and Safari tour and my best performance was the last one that was held at Karen where I managed to beat 20 pros playing from the Men’s tee box," said Wafula in an interview with Nation Sport.

“I am not practicing on the course since the arrival of the Covid-19 in the country at the moment, but I do practice what I can like stance and swing extra, in the house so that I keep that feeling.

“During this difficult time and being indoors and isolated from people does make one think about a lot of stuff. I think a lot on how I can become a better person each and every day both on the golf course and outside the golf course as my dream has always been to motivate others," added Wafula.

She said besides doing light practise in the house, she has been reading a lot of books, both golf and motivational as she believes reading books do make a person much wiser.

“When action resumes, I would like to be ready anytime. I am looking forward to getting back out there as I miss competing.”

"I have been spending my days in the house. I am usually up by 5am, do exercise to help me keep fit then I go about the usual daily routine which is work and I also put aside time for reading and I sometimes give myself time to relax for a few minutes just to meditate and feel relaxation as it helps a lot."

She said this helped her ease any stress and helped her stay focused on what lied ahead.

Before making her return to the ladies scene in February, Wafula had been featuring in the Safari Tour from 2019-2020 where she played in a number of events including those held at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort in Naivasha, Thika Greens Resort.

There, she played one under par in the Pro-Am to emerge the best lady player which she says motivated her a lot because it was the first Safari Tour event this year.

“I am grateful to KGU and Safari Tour for that opportunity because playing with the men pros does teach me a lot and most of all I am always so motivated because then the challenge becomes tougher."

She said her victory at Sigona in February was the biggest since her return to action.

“It was more of a comeback for me and a good one for that matter because it made me qualify for a place in the national ladies Kenya team which was announced and I was among the three chosen to represent Kenya in Namibia for the 2020 All Africa Challenge Trophy.

“This was huge for me because the last time I played for Kenya was 2016 before I left the golf scenes. So we had started practicing for the Namibia tournament which was to be held earlier this month, before everything came to a halt," said Wafula, one of the pioneer students of the Rose Naliaka Golf Academy.