Royal Nairobi Golf Club Captain Sylvester Odhiambo tees off on the par-5? 18th hole during the ICEA Golf Day, at Machakos Sports Club in Machakos, January 9, 2021. [Mose Sammy, The Standard]

Weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the resumption of sporting activities in the country, golf competitions are set to make a comeback on Thursday, after Kenya Golf Union (KGU) released a raft of guidelines on Wednesday.

Suspension of sporting activities by President Uhuru was occasioned by a spike in COVID-19 cases and the advent of the third wave with the rate of infection at 22 per cent as of March 22.

In the raft of protocols announced by KGU, more emphasis was put on four key areas to ensure the safe resumption of golfing competitions.

The areas with emphasis touch on medical examinations, how to execute club events and tournaments, training of members, caddies and employees at members clubs as well as handling of international tournaments.

The announcement came as a breath of fresh air to most clubs since the suspension meant lack of the much-needed revenue usually realised through tournament sponsorships.

“It’s a sigh of relief for golf clubs that have been suffering for lack of tournaments since they were suspended. These guidelines were the break we so much needed to resuscitate our finances,” said Steve Kihumba, Chairman of the Nakuru Golf Club.

Under medical examinations, all clubs will be required to conduct temperature screening exercises while maintaining a daily record of everyone accessing the facilities to help in contact tracing if need be. Those with high temperatures will not be allowed into precincts of the club.

Further, any person exhibiting any COVID-19 like symptoms will be handled as per guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health. Facilities are being encouraged to carry out COIVD-19 testing for its golfers, members of staff and caddies.

Secondly, KGU encourages clubs to use HowDidIDo applications for bookings and registrations of golfers for tournaments and other club events.

Members will get clear communication on the the need to follow guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health in creating awareness on combating the spread of COVID-19. The messages will be posted at highly visible stations, entrances, exits and notice boards. All members of staff will wear their facemasks at all times while at their various stations. Prize presentation will be online to avoid congregation within the clubhouse.

All golfers are discouraged from using changing rooms while Sauna and steam rooms will not be permitted. There should be a safe place within its precincts for isolation of an individual should they be taken ill.

In addition, practice ranges will be required to accommodate a specific number of golfers at any particular time to avoid crowding and each trainee is required to use their own equipment.

All equipment within the practice range will be disinfected before, during and after practice sessions and the trainers expected to keep an inventory of the attendees.

And lastly, for international assignments, KGU will send team(s) to such tournaments but only after consideration of COVID-19 safety protocols are laid out by the host country.

KGU will conduct health checks for teams before participants join the camp and thereafter subsequent daily checks.

The Union, while playing host, will ensure conformity to set out guidelines on Sports Bubble Protocol by ensuring the provision of medical services by availing services of medical practitioners in addition to well-equipped ambulances.

Roaming camera for live production during Day Two of the Kenya Savannah Classic at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi on March 24, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, The Standard]

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