This past weekend, the thirteenth leg of the Safaricom Golf Tour was at Vetlab Sports Club, and the golf outreach at nearby Vetlab Primary School. As we count down to the grand finale in Vipingo, it is a good time to look back at how the tour has been, and how inclusive golf can be. The Safaricom Golf Tour aims to demystify golf and demonstrate inclusivity and we have a few examples of this.
Children – Jeff Kibe
Jeff is a shining example that it is never too early in life to start playing golf and even excel in it. At just 7 years old and under the stewardship of his father, the boy is already a winning golfer, having bagged trophies in his home club Nanyuki, plus Limuru, Muthaiga, Machakos, Karen Golf Club and Eldoret. With this streak, it is clear that there are bigger things coming to the young boy whose favourite club is the driver. Jeff started playing golf at just 4 years of age. Here is his story.
On the extreme opposite of 7-year-old Jeff are two gentlemen of more advance age, one being Nelson Nyoike. Mr. Nyoike who is a member of Vetlab Golf Club capitalized on home ground advantages to emerge winner of this leg, and is excited to represent his home club at the grand finale in Vipingo. In his winner’s speech, he spoke of his absolute love for Safaricom as a company and also for the golf tour.
There’s an even older gentleman to note. At the seventh leg in Karen Country Club, 72 year old Don Riaroh took the day and will also be representing his club in Vipingo. Don who started playing golf in 1974 is a seasoned player and is no stranger to tournaments and wins.
These two gentlemen demonstrate that there is never a right age to take a bow. Keep playing and keep winning.
The Nakuru leg gave us golfers from the deaf community, and this was a first in the tour. Among the players we spoke to is Jecinta Njeri, a sports and athletics enthusiast from Ngala School for the Deaf in Nakuru. She sees no reason why she cannot spread her wings and try out golf as an addition to her already thriving forays into other sports like athletics, dancing, sack race, volleyball, netball and tennikoit.
She is excited to discover golf and would never have thought about it had the golf tour not come knocking on her door.
For the longest time, golf had been considered a man’s sport. But that perception and practice is dying as more women take an interest in the game, with golf clubs having lady captains. In our work with the golf tour, we have spoken to several lady leaders in golf, the most recent being the Lady Captain and Assistant Lady Captain of Moi Airforce Golf Club. The two, Sophie Njuguna and Caroline Wanza respectively are on a mission to promote lady golfing in the country for both young and older ladies, as well as juniors. Here is the story.
Right from the beginning of the golf tour in Nanyuki, it has been clear that there is a lot of interest in the game even among people who have never played. A lot of these people felt that golf is a reserve of the rich and elderly, and therefore out of their league.
One of the main aims of the tour is to demystify golf and to drop the elitist tag that hangs around it and the results of this have continued to be seen in the number of kids who show up for the outreach activities that accompany the tournaments. Just this past Saturday, Vetlab attracted 175 juniors, with 40 of them attending the golf clinics at the same facility. This is strong communication that anyone can play golf.
The 14th leg which also marks the last tournament of the series ahead of the grand finale in Vipingo is scheduled for 30th July at Nairobi Royal Golf Club. As part of growing the sport among junior players in the country, Safaricom has partnered with the Junior Golf Foundation to tap and nurture young talent. The juniors can register with the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) for Ksh1,000/- which grants them access to play at any golf club in the country