A good swing on a tee-off with accurate putting in different holes is what made golfers like legend John Mucheru of Muthaiga Golf Club and Dismas Indiza of Mumias Club become household names in Kenya.
The number of young golfers at Nakuru Golf Club, who have steadily overcome experienced players in different tournaments, is steadily on the rise.
The children are aged between two and five years, who by the time they turn eight, are focused on taking on their opponents with no much fuss.
Veteran golfer Shem Orwenyi of Junior Golf Foundation prefers to handle children who do not have golfing background, although he started the program with children whose parents are avid golfers.
Orwenyi trains children, who have been recruited from poor backgrounds. They are always allowed in the golf course on weekends but train three times a week, from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
“The future of the game is with these young champions since they are the source of our future stars. We start by teaching them basic skills and how to handle different golfing sticks. We find it better to do it at a tender age before we come up with different strategies on how to improve their handicaps to a single digit,” Orwenyi told Standard Sports.
“They players stand a chance of featuring in major tournaments like Kenya Open or selected regional championships and therefore,” said Orwenyi.
“In doing this, it has been a source of encouragement to the needy and in return, they have improved in golfing tactics,” said Orwenyi.
Some of the kids who have benefitted from the program are 18-year old handicap 17 Charles Kamais, 14-year old handicap 18 Moses Kamau and 20 year old handicap 19 Anthony Muchui.
He said for Kenya to have a consistent and pragmatic format of excelling in local and international assignments is to come up with a large pool of such youngsters whom the foundation is able to pick the best when it comes to the selection of national teams.
At the start of the program three years back, Orwenyi had only 14 students, which has steadily grown to over 45 young golfers who always undergo similar rigorous training sessions at Nakuru Golf course.
Asked how the under privileged kids afford the cost of playing golf, which is referred as a rich man’s game, he said JGF subsidizes the cost of doing so until the junior players become senior players.
“Junior Golf Foundation pays for their club membership, which of course provides and gives them an opportunity to access other reciprocating clubs in the country,” he stated.
“In doing this, it has been a source of encouragement to the under privileged who in return have displayed an excellent performance in training sessions and in different tournaments in and outside the club,” said Orwenyi who also sits in Junior Golf Foundation Board.
Some of the kids who have benefitted from the program are 18-year old handicap 17 Charles Kamais, 14-year old handicap 18 Moses Kamau and 20 year old handicap 19 Anthony Muchui
JGF only covers for golfers aged between five to 21 years who thereafter transit to senior tournaments where they compete equally against experienced golfers.
Some of the junior golfers who were scheduled to play in the Kenya Open are Muthaiga Golf Club members in 16-uyear old Taimur Malik and 18 year old Mutahi Kibugo who both plays off the scratch. [Ben Ahenda]