Kenya Golf Guide

Kenya Open Golf Limited Chairman Peter Kanyago tees off from the KICC rooftop during the launch of the 50th edition of the Kenya Open today.


Local professional golfers seem to be on a collision path again with the organisers of this year’s Kenya Open Golf Championships to be held at the Muthaiga Golf Club between March 22 and 25.

This emerged today during the official launch of the premier competition at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala announced that they were keen to use the event which is part of the European Tour to market the country as Africa’s destination for golf tourism.

While tournament sponsors Barclays used the launch to introduce a qualifying series, the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) led by their captain Charan Thethy vowed not to participate in the Barclays series and instead would go ahead with there self organised qualifiers which teed off last weekend at Muthaiga.

We have been given 22 slots for local professionals, so the tournament organisers should wait for PGK to give them the 22 names. How we make the names, we know better,” Thethy said.

He added: “We know nothing about the launched Barclays series, but all I can say is that we have our own qualifiers which will culminate with the Jamii Masters in Sigona on March 13-15. We have been playing the qualifiers without any sponsorship and we continue.”

Kenya Golf Guide

Kenya Open Golf Limited Director Kathleen Kihanya tees off from the KICC rooftop during the launch of the 50th edition of the Kenya Open today.

Contrary to PGK’s plan, Barclays, the title sponsors of the Kenya Open have indicated that their Sh 32 million sponsored series will feature the Nairobi Open at the Karen Golf Club on February 2, followed by the Nakuru Open at the Nakuru Golf Club February 10, then the Kisumu Golf Open at the Nyanza Golf Club on February 24. These will be followed by the Pwani Open at the Nyali Golf Club on March 3 and then the Mt. Kenya Open at the Thika Golf Club on March 10.

Kenya has been handed 22 slots for the professionals and six for amateurs but only 18 are being contested for as four professionals have made the cut to feature in the challenge tour.

The four include Mumias’ Dismas Indiza, Thika’s Simon Ngige and Windsor’s Riz Charania who made the cut in last year’s edition of the Open while Stephan Andersen has been handed a wild card for his current form and performance in the just concluded BMW South Africa Open held in January 11-14.

Meanwhile, following the president’s directive to have the prize money for the Open increased, the government has sponsored the event to a tune of Sh 102.3 million (1million dollars) for a period of five years.

The increase in prize money aims at raising the bar of the championship, increasing participation of local players and attracting a higher caliber of players from across the globe which will result in golf development from the junior ranks to the elite amateurs across the country. It will also go a long way in marketing the country as a tourism destination.

On their part Barclays has committed a total Sh82 million this year, comprising Sh50 million for Barclays Kenya Open sponsorship and the Sh32 million meant for the qualifying series.