- Nakuru Golf Club has evolved into a leading upcountry club since its inception in 1923 when Lord Scott first teed up.
- The event started on Thursday, November 23, with a showdown between Chairmen, Captains and Lady Captains, followed by the Nakuru Governor’s Shield on Friday.
- The centennial event also saw the launching of a 12th hole bridge, Simba Bridge, by Dr. Narendra Raval, the chairman of Devki Group of Companies.
With a witnessed participation of more than 300 golf players, the Nakuru Golf Club hosted a four-day centennial tournament, marking a significant milestone and 100 years since its inception.
The event started on Thursday, November 23, with a showdown between Chairmen, Captains and Lady Captains, followed by the Nakuru Governor’s Shield on Friday.
Organized by Catherine Kanyi, the club’s Marketing Executive, the tournament aimed to raise funds for significant development projects and leverage golf tourism as a way to attract visitors and investors to Nakuru City.
Transformative growth since 1923
Nakuru Golf Club has evolved into a leading upcountry club since its inception in 1923 when Lord Scott first teed off.
As the current chairman, Mandeep Sahota explains that the membership as of 2023 has grown to approximately 700 members, with more strategies being put in place to ensure more members join the course.
“We’ve had events where we have encouraged junior golf, additionally, we have had membership drives that have gotten good response from young enthusiasts,” said Mr. Sahota.
Further, he stated that his joy and aim as the chairman is to ensure more junior golf players join the club, as compared to the current trend where golf is known as only a seniors’ sport.
“This is how I see that golf will turn around from the seniors to the juniors coming on board for competitions and also, change the general outlook of the game of golf throughout,” added the chairman.
Regarding infrastructure, Nakuru Golf Club has seen the construction of a new concrete road leading to the club, a borehole enhancing green irrigation, and a renovated Clubhouse.
The centennial event also saw the launching of a 12th hole bridge, Simba Bridge, by Dr. Narendra Raval, the chairman of Devki Group of Companies.
These developments have been realized through the leadership of past Chairman, Stephen Kihumba in 2019 and Mr. Sahota to showcase the immense growth not only for the club but for Nakuru as a city.
The sequence of the 4-day event included Chairmen’s, Captains, and Lady Captains Tournaments on Thursday, County Government of Nakuru Governor’s Shield on Friday, Centennial Tournaments and Gala Dinner on Saturday and a Juniors Tournaments and Family Day on Sunday.
Mr. Sahota said that the club will continue to look for opportunities to transform sports tourism so as to benefit Nakuru County as a whole.
“Since Nakuru was updated to the city status, we are trying to look for opportunities on how we can partner with hotels in our city to encourage golf tourism. Nakuru Golf Club is very capable and we are looking forward to this to being a success,” he said.
The Ainley’s – Golfers family
The centennial event was honored by the legendary lady golfer Sarah Ainley, the mother of professional golfer Richard Ainley and USA-based top golfer Josephine Ainley.
Sarah Ainley was appointed by the Nakuru Golf Club to take charge of the junior programs.
In an exclusive media interview, Mrs. Ainley said that she started golfing at the Nakuru Golf Club in 1977.
She was introduced to the course by her husband, David Ainley and she would continue golfing to be the third Lady Captain at the Nakuru Golf Club and introduce her children to golfing at a very young age.
Her first son, Richard Ainley, who started golfing at the tender age of 4 years, is now an international champion.
At 12 years old, Richard was already participating in national junior tournaments and winning across the country.
His passion for golf kept growing, and at 17 years old, he made it to the Kenya National team and, as a result of his academic excellence, got a scholarship to study in the United States of America.
He gained fame for being a talented golfer from Nakuru – Kenya, and made history by playing competitively with Tiger Woods at the Warwick Golf and Country Club in Michigan-USA on the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) tour.
Currently, he is a part of the ongoing junior training program at Nakuru Golf Club together with his mother as he believes that just like her, the next frontier of professional golfers will hail from the same greens of where he was nurtured.
In 2023, Mrs. Ainley was appointed the Junior Convener at Nakuru Golf Club, a befitting role she accepted in September.
“Together with the Junior Golf Committee, I purpose to nurture junior golfers in Nakuru and promote these kids to become the next generation of Kenya’s elite players,” she said.
Golfing excellence: another century
Current Nakuru Golf Club Captain Mathew Maiyo insisted on the importance of recruiting young golfers as a way of shaping the future of golf at the Nakuru Golf Club.
“As we look into the future, junior golf is definitely important and I believe Sarah Ainley will assist us shape the future of golf as we start another decade,” stated Maiyo.
Additionally, the club enthusiastically revealed groundbreaking initiatives that herald a transformative era for its infrastructure.
These plans include the installation of solar-powered boreholes, the creation of course washrooms, the construction of guest cottages, the introduction of a private members’ car wash, and the establishment of a juniors’ clubhouse, among others.
The club Chairman, Mr. Sahota, called on investors, partners, and sponsors to leverage this great opportunity to network and grow their businesses in the fast-growing city of Nakuru.
“We are looking at this as a very prime opportunity for partners, being in Nakuru city, as it gives them a valuable and big opportunity to come market their companies and products which is a norm of today’s business,” said Mr. Sahota.
The peak of the four-day event was on Saturday, November 25 where esteemed members, guests, and partners congregated for a resplendent Black & Gold-themed gala dinner.
The night of elegance and tradition featured presentations from government representatives, CSOs and sponsors, as well as awarding winners who had emerged first in various tournaments.
The centenary celebrations culminated with a junior event and family day celebrations on Sunday, November 26.
About Nakuru Golf Club
The Nakuru Golf Club is situated at the slopes of the Menengai Crater and is one of the three 18-hole golf clubs in the Great Rift Valley.
Nakuru Golf Club started in 1923 when Lord Scott took the first swing; now, it’s a top club in the countryside with over 700 members, including pros, business folks and investors.
Over the years, it has hosted a number of Kenya Golf Union (KGU) events, including the Coronation Trophy in 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and annual events such as the Ladies Open and the Jamhuri Day Golf Tournament, among others.
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