Golf in Kenya - the ultimate Golf vacation



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Where else in the world can you play golf,go to Safari,go for Deep Sea Fishing and then enjoy the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the world in one place ? Kenya has it all and golf is no exception.Kenya has almost fourty golf clubs,mostly patronized by the European and Asian communities,notably around the old colonial centres of Nairobi,Naivasha,Thika,Nanyuki and Nyeri in the Central Highlands,and Kisumu and Kitale in the west.There are also a number on the coast,and - incontestably the most bizarre - on the scorched moonscape shore of Lake Magadi.Green fees vary widely,usually a the golf clib will ask for a temporary membership.

Karen Country Club Kenya Railway Golf Club Kiambu Club Limuru Country Club Machakos Golf Club Magadi Club Muthaiga Golf Club Ndumberi Golf Club Royal Nairobi Golf Club Ruiru Club Sigona Golf Club Thika Sports Club Windsor Golf and Country Club Leisure Lodge Golf Course Malindi Golf and Country Club Mombasa Golf Club Nyali Golf and Country Club Gigil Golf Club Makuyu Club Molo Highlands Hotel Golf Course Mount Kenya Safari Club  Nakuru Golf Club Nanyuki Sports Club Njoror Club Nyahururu Golf Club Nyeri Club Eldoret Club Kakamega Golf Club Kericho Club Kisii Sports Club Kitale Club Mumias Club Nandi Bears Golf Club Nyanza Club Golf in Kenya by Tob Cohen

One of Kenya's best kept secrets is its numerous golf courses. Few places in the world offer such perfect ingredients for a fantastic golf holiday, as Kenya. The opportunity to play your favourite game, to see wildlife (sometimes on the course!) and to relax on the beautiful white sandy beaches during the same holiday is unique. In the early 1900s British colonists began developing golf courses all over the country. They realised that Kenya had a favourable climate and beautiful setting for the construction of some of the world's best courses. One of the most appealing features of golfing in Kenya is variety. From the beach clubs set among palms and casuarinas with stunning views of the sapphire Indian Ocean, to those dominated by the perennial snow-cap of Mount Kenya, there is a medley of courses each vying for priority as the most attractive location. One is built on the slopes of an extinct volcano! Kenya has 36 golf courses of which 10 are 18-hole, nine of which are used for championship events. Six are within a 20-mile radius of Nairobi - Kenya's bustling capital. The oldest course is Royal Nairobi Golf Club (7021 yards - par 72 - 18 holes) founded in 1906, the latest is the Windsor Golf and Country Club (6751 yards - par 72 - 18 holes). There are several new courses under construction and a number are being up-graded from nine holes to 18 holes. The weather is ideal for golf throughout the year. On occasions you might need a sweater or a jersey, but will usually play in a polo shirt. In the highland areas, the temperatures are in the low 20's and at the Coast in the high 20's or 30's. There are 12 hours of daylight and, depending on the season, four to nine hours of sunshine. During the two rainy seasons, (April and November), the rain usually falls before 10 am and after 5 p.m. and almost never when you are playing! More and more clubs are installing sophisticated fairway watering systems to keep the course green during the dry season. Many courses are at an altitude of more than 1500 metres (5000 ft.), giving you an additional 10 per cent yardage to your stroke. Most clubs have a pro-shop where you can buy whatever you need. Though there are no golf carts, Kenya has the luxury of caddies. Usually the caddies are very good players themselves and will not only carry your bag and look for your ball in the rough, but will advise on local rules, assist with your swing and generally be your companionions and mentor. Kenya's golf clubs are generally quiet, especially during weekdays. One or two clubs do not admit visitors at weekends but most do, except on competition days. Visitors who want to play golf are best advised to approach one of the several tour operators organising golf holidays. A few specialise only in golf safaris and give a personalised service. Many of the larger general tour operators now offer golf in their programmes. For the visiting golfer, Kenya has a broad appeal. There is everything for the fantastic golfer, whilst the avid golfer can fashion his safari to include some wildlife viewing as well. A golfer who prefers to laze on the beach can still fit in a game or two and the business traveller, with an afternoon off, can easily play his favourite game right on his doorstep. Many city hotels have made arrangements with local courses for temporary membership for their business visitors. Kenya has it all and golf is no exception. By Tob Cohen The author is the Managing Director of Tobs Kenya Golf Safaris , the first tour operator in Kenya specialising in golf tours .


 


Situated at one of Kenya's suburb about 16 kilometres from Nairobi, lies The Karen Country Club which is famous for its beautiful course and lawn terrace. Founded in 1933 by the Karen Estates Company Ltd, and an initial nine-hole and pins layout, the country club has become Kenya's top  eighteen-hole major championship courses.

In 1968, Karen Country Club held its first open championship and a second one in 1969. With an enrollment of almost 1,700 members, of which a greater percentage are golfers, Karen Country Club offers recreational activities as well as entertainment ranging from a bar for after-rounds refreshments, children's library, tennis courts, a swimming pool area fully equipped with a kitchen , bar and barbecue. An Inter-dart club and bowling pavilion is also available at the Golf Country Club. back to the top

 


 

 

The 75 years old Kenya Railways Golf Club is a club which offers a unique golfing opportunity for city dwellers. It is located half a kilometre from the city centre of Nairobi with businesses overlooking it course.

It was established in 1922 as a private club for the Railway staff only by the Kenya Railway Manager's wife, Mrs. Couper, as the Kenya Uganda Railway Golf Club (K. U. R. G.C.).

The club opened its membership to non - railways staff in 1924. The clubhouse shown above was built in 1925. The club has a nine hole course with 18 tees and ten greens. The Railways is a fun course to play, especially if you are lucky enough to have your game coincide with a train passing through the course. back to the top

 


Outside Nairobi's hustling and bustling city, is a golf course that started off in 1916 with a total of three holes. In 1959, with the effort of Mr. E. B. Horne and the local villagers, Kiambu Golf Club was modernized with the browns converted into greens and with an up to date course of nine-holes.

Members at the Kiambu Club enjoy an atmosphere of relaxation while watching the finishing hole from the club's verandah . Other than Golf, other sporting activities such as swimming, snooker, tennis and darts are available. back to the top

 

 

Limuru Country Club

PO Box 10 Limuru,Tel 254 154 41351 Fax 254 154 51064

The club is located just 25 kilometres from Nairobi and its surrounded by luxuriously verdant tea fields. It is an eighteen - hole course with the first nine holes opened on June 25 1949 by the president of the Kenya Golf Union, Mr. David Morgan, while the second nine holes were opened on February 8 1952.

The clubs eighteen - hole course is a delight to play and this combined with the ever - verdant fairways, cool climate and beautiful location makes the Limuru course very popular. Each year the club is finding more and more events. back to the top

 

Machakos Golf Club


In the heart of Machakos sits a nine-hole golf course with indigenous grass at its fairways and more `browns' than there are `greens'. The interesting holes are said to be the seventh (which is the toughest) and eighth.

Situated only 75 minutes drive from Nairobi, the clubhouse offers tennis, and a multi-purpose playing field. back to the top

 

 

Magadi Club


Started in 1931 by Mr. C. Shotton, The Magadi Club is almost a "stone throw" away from Lake Magadi which is 100 kilometers from Nairobi. Browns are eminent as the climate is hot, and dry. There are a number of tees that have been created out of the dry earth.

The course that lies near the Lake plays from both men and women at a distance of 6,555 and 5,668 yards respectively. Meals and other forms of entertainment are all at reasonable rates. back to the top

 

Muthaiga Golf Club

PO Box 41651 Nairobi,Tel 254 2 762414 ,Fax 254 2 761268

Muthaiga enjoys the influential position of having been one of the Kenya's pioneer golf courses and it serves as a home to the Kenya Golf Union and plays host to the most prestigious golfing event in the country, The Kenya Open.

The course club is situated at the Kiambu Road towards Kiambu about 200 metres (220 yards), further on the left. The original nine holes were laid out at Muthaiga in 1913 and the club foundation stone was laid in 1912 and the golf course become an amenity for the club members and their friends.

By 1926 the course was later extended to eighteen holes to accommodate the growing membership.The club deicded to take on Associate members who later formed the Associate Members clubhouse which then became the clubhouse for the entire golfing section in 1921.

Muthaiga is still noted for it's very fine greens which gives the club a beautiful layout and one that has may challenges in store for both the regular and the visiting golfers. back to the top

 


Despite being a football field as well as a golf course, Ndumberi Golf Club is registered with the Kenya Golf Union (K.G.U) and serves as a stepping stone for golf beginners. Most members learnt golf on this course.

Located along Kiambu Rd, it is about 12.5 Kilometers from Kiambu Police Station. Golf, other sporting activities such as swimming, snooker, tennis and darts are available. back to the top

 

 


In 1906, a nine-hole golf course and club house was started. The Royal Golf Club ("Royal" adapted by King George V) which was the first course in Kenya, initially measured 5 x 4 metres, but was later extended by 429 acres in 1927.

Located in Nairobi's Ngong Road, with a panoramic view of the Ngong Hills as one drives up to the club's entrance. The Golf Clubs first East African Ladies' championship was held in 1932 under the patronage of The Kenya Golf Union (K.G.U).

The tees, which consist of various types of players, that is, Championship, Medal and Ladies' are the largest in Kenya. At the Royal Golf Club, an annual Easter tournament played for the Tannahill Shield, is held.

Only about 10 of the country's top players from various clubs are requested to play in the competition. back to the top

 

 


With a course description of 6,734 yards and 72 par for men and a par of 73 covering a yard of 5,926 for women, The Ruiru Club derives its beauty from a course-view of the Maua Hills of Machakos and The Aberdare Range.

This can be seen on a clear day. Members enjoy other competitions organized by the club with tennis as the most popular, hockey and volleyball. With only a few 35 kilometers from Nairobi, The Ruiru Golf Course is a club that gives you a good time. back to the top

 


Sigona Club is located in Kikuyu, 18 kilometers, just outside Nairobi. It was founded by the Kenya Estates Limited around 1938, with its construction and design by Mr. Berkley-Mathews .

The club's eighteen-hole course, offers its members Kenya's most beautiful fairways which are privileged to receive an average amount of rainfall thus, maintaining it's greens.

The toughest hole is the seventh and measures 458 yards for men and 485 for women. One of Signoa's biggest events was the Kenya Amateur Stroke Play, while its annual championship is the Sigona Bowl, which is a 54-hole tournament.

Club members enjoy other facilities such as a sauna and swimming pool. back to the top

 


The Thika Sports Club is located 40 kilometers from Nairobi. Started in 1922 as a social club by the Administration Officers, it was not until 1932 that the golf course was laid, and officially opened in 1947.

With a course of nine holes, it is described to be one of the easiest courses in Kenya. About 150 to 200 yards from the tee, lies the clubhouse that offers an exquisite entertainment facility that involves a swimming pool, tennis courts, snooker and even a rugby pitch.

The club hosted it's biggest event, The Winston Churchill Cup tournament, in 1949. back to the top

 

 


The superbly built 200 acre Hotel and Golf Club is definitely one of its kind in East Africa. Situated 17 kilometers from Nairobi, a visit to the Windsor Golf and Country Club is a must for, not only golfers, but anyone seeking luxury.

It has fabulous double rooms, studios, cottages and extracurricular activities such as tennis, saunas, jogging trail, boating, fishing and a health club fully equipped with aerobics and weight machines.

Tees are well maintained to preserve their immaculate appearance. The club's course has an international standard with beautifully landscaped sand bunkers.

The distance from the ladies' and men's tees is 5,580 and 7,277 yards respectively.

 

Leisure Lodge Golf Course


The Leisure Lodge Golf Course is located in South Coast in Diani and is the only golf club in the south and it is owned by Dr. W. Meister. The eighteen-hole course was constructed and designed by Mr. Thomas Fjastad.

The course was set to have five tee positions men's and ladies handicaps and medals. back to the top

 

 


At the North Coast, a well renowned Golf and Country club has emerged to be one of Kenya's favourite golf courses. Malindi Golf Club is situated 117 kilometers from Mombasa and 500 kilometers from Nairobi.

The unusual eleven-hole and fifteen tee course spreads out on 133 acres of land with the first hole being 378 yards for men and 332 yards for women. The club also enjoys other tournaments such as the Monthly Mug and The Easter Bonnet tournament.

There are various facilities provided by the club for it's members these include tennis, darts, snooker and a luxurious bar. back to the top

 


Rated among the oldest courses in Kenya, The Mombasa Club was started in 1911. The club has a course of nine-holes consisting eight greens and is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef with powdery white sand beach.

On the front course of the club, the nine holes measure a distance of 2,888 yards and 2,949 yards at the back.

The front course is said to be the most interesting to play, especially because of the surrounding Indian Ocean, it also hosts an annual Coast Open tournament that usually takes place in August. The club also offers snooker back to the top

 


The Nyali Golf and Country Club is the only eighteen-hole golf course on the north Coast. Monty Lowry was the golfer behind the course's design. 160 acres of land were set aside for its construction, and in 1956 the first nine holes were completed, with the second nine completed in 1980.

This particular course is said to be challenging as the winds influence playing conditions. The Golf Club has become the Grand Finale of the Golfer of the Year tournaments and also the Kenya Brewaries Festival.

The club also prides in its restaurant notably the II Duetto which specializes in Italian cuisine. back to the top

 

 

Gilgil Golf Club


The Gilgil Golf Club is a remarkable course within the former "White Highlands" . The course was laid out in 1926 by Col. Alan Gibson. The tees and fairways are well covered by grass though the greens are "browns" mainly due to the dry weather. The first course plays a par of four and is 327 yards on the front side and a par of three and 232 yards at the back.

The clubhouse provides a friendly atmosphere for its members, though temporary membership is not offered, permanent members can sign in for their visitors. Several events are held in the Golf club these being The Pisstwits Cricket and The Kenya Golf Seniors. back to the top

 

Makuyu Club


Although the Makuyu Club is not very popular, the fine, easy, course serves as a good opportunity for beginners. Named after a tree, "Mukuyu" the club was started in 1933 and officially opened in 1934. The club is located about 50 kilometers from Thika town and 84 kilometers if driving from Nyeri.

The greatest golfing tournament to be held at Makuyu is the Monthly Mug, which is held every third week of the month. The course is flat and has nine holes, with the seventh hole 363 yards for men and 317 yards for women. There's a clubhouse that provides its members a fun day and cold refreshments. back to the top

 

Molo Highlands Hotel Golf Course

The golf course is said to have the highest tee measuring 9,000 feet above sea level. The Molo Highlands Golf course is a nine-holer built by Mr. Eric Davis in 1930. It plays 4,914 yards for men and 4,419 yards for women.

With a panoramic view of the surrounding hills, the club hosts the Karume Cup usually in October, and The Madaraka Cup in June. back to the top

 

 

Nakuru Golf Course


Located exactly 160 kilometers from Nairobi is the Nakuru Golf Course. The course was opened in 1929 by Lord Francis Scott. Initially, the course was a nine-holer and consisted mainly of browns this was during its construction in 1923, but was extended to eighteen holes in 1935.

Lake Nakuru and the Flamingos can be seen at the eighth and eighteenth tees, these give the player more pleasure. The first hole has a wide fairway with a 376 yard for men and 320 yards for women.

The club's annual event is the Coronation Trophy. The restaurant offers appetizing meals and adequate drinks for thirsty players and observers thus, due to the club's great hospitality, visitors from Nairobi highly commend the golf course and club. back to the top

 


An immaculate golf course lies in the heart of Nanyuki town. The sports club was built in 1937 but was abandoned during the war and revived in 1948. The golf course has a mixture of three greens and six browns and measures 5,834 yards for eighteen holes.

During the rainy season, it is said to be the best time to play on the course. Tournaments such as the Monthly Mug are held every third Sunday of the month.

The Nanyuki Sports Club is a golf club that provides comfort and relaxation for its members and even visitors. back to the top

 

 


The Njoro Club is located 168 kilometers from Nairobi, and was opened in 1927. The course is a nine-holer which remains green throughout the best part of the year. With its wide fairways and numerous bunkers, this plays 7,185 yards for men and 6,493 yards for women.

The clubhouse prides in its African, Nyama Choma, meal and also accommodation, of five guest rooms. Members of the club comprise of the town's doctors, lawyers and administrators. A three month temporary membership, and golfing lessons are offered by the club. back to the top

 

 


Nyahururu is the home of the Thomson Falls. Located 60 kilometers from Nakuru, is a Golf Club that was started in 1936, together with a polo ground, a bowling green, squash, and tennis courts. The Nyahururu Golf Club is laid on a nine-hole course which is said to be rough.

The kikuyu grass on the fairway extends to 2,350 yards above sea level and the course plays 6,570 yards for men and 5,937 yards for women. The club hosts the Inaugural tournament annually organized by the Kenya Golf Union and is also a sponsor of the Monthly Mug.

Other cups and trophies include the Smirnoff and Nyahururu Esso. back to the top

 


The second oldest golf course in Kenya, is the Nyeri Club that began in 1910, started by Reggie McClure and G. Sandbach Baker.

The first nine-holes were laid at about the same year, the course was extended to eighteen holes in 1934. With the expansion, the club held The Kenya Amateur Championship in 1949.

The first hole is surrounded by beautiful Jacaranda Trees and has a yard of 346 for men and 331 yards for women. The club schedules golf tournaments such as The Pan Africa Club and The Kibaki Cup. back to the top

 

 

Eldoret Club


The eighteen-hole golf course is said to have started in 1924. Located in one of Kenya's largest towns, the Eldoret Club's golf course measures 6,649 yards for men and 5,921 yards for women, with the pars for men and women being 70 and 73 respectively.

The first course plays 472 yards for men and 499 yards for women and is said to be the most difficult for men. The club organizes The Monthly Mug which is very popular and an annual Plateau Championship tournament. back to the top

 

 


Members at the Kakamega Golf club are treated to a nine hole golf course with beautiful wide fairways and Marabou storks that occasionally roam the course. The course was laid-out in 1931, with an initial four holes. The greens and fairways were all improved, and this brought a very impressive image of the golf course.

The longest hole is said to be the fourth which has a par of five for both men and women, and plays 534 yards for men and 487 yards for women. The East versus the West tournament is the club's annual event, that has been playing since 1945. The club does not provide accommodation, but offers temporary membership for hotel guests. Lessons are given by caddies at the members' request back to the top

 



The Kericho club is approximately 215 kilometers from Nairobi. Situated in an environment of tea growing, the club has earned itself the reputation of having the greenest fairways in the country. The club was started by the European farmers in 1927, and has a course description of nine holes, and measures 6,293 yards for men and 5,295 yards for women.

The clubhouse offers a range of facilities like cricket and soccer. The golf club hosts the Open Foursomes every February. back to the top

 


The Kisii Sports Club was started in 1914, and has 300 members of which 40 are golfers. Though the course is more of a cow pasture and school field, members find it irresistible. The club has nine-hole course, with its fairways and greens covered with local grass.

The course measures 5,703 yards for men and 4,847 yards for women with a par of 70 for both. The biggest event the club hosted was the B. A. T Kenya Ltd golf tournament in 1992. Its annual tournament is the Shabana Open Greensome. back to the top

 

Kitale Club


The only eighteen-hole golf club in the Lake Victoria and Rift Valley region, is located in vicinity of the beautiful Mt. Elgon. The club was started in 1924 by the European settlers. The course was constructed in 1938, with Mr A.Q Roberts in charge.

The Kitale club's course is green throughout the year, with its fairways comprising a mixture of indigenous and exotic grasses. As one plays, the colubus monkeys make an appearance.

The club plays to a par of 73 and measures 6,869 yards for men's tees and 5,931 yards for women's tees. The prestigious club offers discos and barbecues especially for visiting players. The club's annual even is the Trans Nzioa Open, which began in 1930.

Accommodation is also available. back to the top

 


Mumias club was started in 1978 with the idea from Jack Norris, Bob Sullivan and Ken Platt. The course has nine holes, with the first hole playing 191 yards for men and 156 yards for women.

The course is a "fun-course" and is said to have been made so by its designer. Members of the club comprise mainly of Mumias Sugar Company's employees.

The Monthly Mug and Club Championships are popular with members, though Mumias Sugar Co. does not sponsor any tournaments. back to the top

 

 

Nandi Bears Golf Club


Nandi Hills provide a panoramic view especially from the golf club. The Nandi Bears Golf Club was formed in 1928. Though the main games were tennis and rugby, and were already in existence, the course was actually constructed in 1951 under the direction of Mr. Duncan Scroggie and lies 1,890 meters above sea level.

The longest hole is the first, with a par of five and 530 yards for men and 455 yards for women. The clubs members comprise of the local tea farmers. The Kenya Ladies Golf Union is an annual tournament, other tournaments include the Gill Trophy and the very prestigious, Kenya Breweries Festival of Golf. back to the top

 


Next to the second largest fresh water lake in the world, seats a magnificent golf club. Its course is 1,067 meters above sea level.

The fairways consist of local grass that retain their greenness through the best part of the year. The golf course came into being in 1936 with the club house coming up in 1952.

The eighth hole is said to be most interesting as it plays across number five and is also a favourite with the hippos! Visitors at the club can sign up for temporary membership.

The club has five cottages for accommodation and offers tennis, squash, snooker and darts, a pool and video library are also available. back to the top

 

Villa Pierre for rent

Villa Mwangi for rent

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Leisure Lodge Golf Course in Diani Beach Kenya , the only Golf Club on the South Coast of Mombasa

photo by Mike Klemme http://www.golfoto.com


 

 

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