Why new guidelines are a big boost to golf in Kenya
Golfer C.J Wangai during a practice session ahead of the Kenya Open at Karen Golf Club on March 12. [Courtesy]

In these times of coronavirus pandemic, for competitive professional golf to return to Europe and the United States, the organisers of the tournaments had to put all the participants in what is being referred to as a bubble.

To ensure that the health and safety of all participants, the players, their caddies, tournament officials, TV crew and all other participants are tested for the virus and they are then allowed to enter into this environment that is referred to as the bubble.

The bubble is made up of the hotels that the players and officials stay in, the sanitised vehicles that they use, the golf course and anything else in between.

There are no spectators allowed during the tournaments and this has definitely had an adverse effect on the atmosphere of the tournaments.

For the period of the tournament, none of the key participants are allowed to leave bubble. Their movements are restricted to between hotels and the golf course. All participants have their body temperature checked as they enter the golf course and anyone with a high fever is promptly attended to.

Players or officials who live near the golf course are not allowed to return to their homes as the tournament progresses. They must all remain in the bubble.

The participants of the Kenya Open set for November 12-15 will also be placed in a similar bubble. The movement will be restricted to Karen Country Club, Hemingway Hotel and all the other official hotels.

Unfortunately, no spectators will be allowed just as has been the case at all other European Tour tournaments. The saving grace is the live coverage of the event by KTN News for all the four days of the event. All golf fans and Kenyans in general will be able to follow the action at the Karen Country Club.

There was still some doubt whether the Government would allow the tournament to go ahead as sporting events had been banned.

On Monday, the Ministry of Sports released the draft protocols and guidance for sporting events.

The document that is out as part of public participation, is expected to be ratified next week after the views of stakeholders are incorporated.

As had been hoped for,golf has been categorised as a low risk sport and as such, it will be possible to hold golf events once the protocols are ratified.

The announcement is to the golfing fraternity the dove that brought the olive leaf back to Noah’s ark after the flood.

We have been living not knowing whether we shall be able to return to competitive golf. At last, we can now hope for a return to normalcy.

The writer is General Manager of Kenya Open Golf Limited

 

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