Nakuru Golf Club, situated at the slopes of the dormant volcanic Menengai crater, and one of the three 18-hole golf clubs in the great Rift Valley, marks 100 years this weekend with a number of golfing activities.
Ushering the celebrations, the club will host the Chairmen, Captain’s and Lady Captain’s tournament on Wednesday and Thursday. This will be followed by the County Governor’s Shield event on Friday, before club members and invited guests converge on the par 73 course for the centennial tournament on Saturday that will be followed by a gala dinner in the evening.
However, a night of elegance and tradition will also feature on Friday evening as Nakuru Golf Club members, guests and partners gather for what has been described as a “Black and Gold themed gala dinner’’ to commemorate the 100th-year anniversary.
Meanwhile a junior event, Family Day and ground breaking of various club development projects are set for Sunday.
The projects aimed at enhancing the club’s infrastructure include sinking and equipping of solar-powered boreholes, construction of course washrooms, construction of guest cottages, construction of a private members car wash, construction of a juniors’ club house, installation of lighting on the drive-way and parking area.
Others include the construction of outdoor cloakrooms and changing rooms for social members and juniors, refurbishment of caddies’ centre and washrooms, construction of an outdoor sports bar, furnishing of new seats for the club house, construction of an outdoor BBQ kitchen, expansion of ladies’ washrooms, construction of a swimming pool with solar heating, construction and equipping of a laundry unit, as well as the construction of a gym, spa and sauna.
Other ambitious projects the club is undertaking include the installation of access control into the club house, and the refurbishment of the kitchen and fencing of the course and club centenary commemorations.
Nakuru Golf Club has grown to be a premier upcountry club, from the first time a golf ball was hit on the course in 1923 by Lord Scott.
Historically, the golf course was set up on the lakeside of the town. This land was however absorbed by the Rift Valley Sports Club to form a golf section.
Unfortunately, due to the rapid development of the area, the lease of the land was not renewed and arrangements were made to start looking for land for the golf course.
The present land was found and a nine-hole course opened by Lord Francis Scott in 1929. The second course was laid out and completed in 1935, the same year the club hosted the Kenya Amateur Championship. Conversion to the greens began in the early 1950s through the help of the then Muthaiga professional Alec Kinnell.
Currently boasting 700 members who include professionals, business people and investors, Nakuru golf club has over the years hosted a number of Kenya Golf Union (KGU) events, among them the Coronation trophy which was started in 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI.
The event, initially played over 72 holes, was Kenya’s top amateur event until 1978 when the Kenya Amateur Stroke Play Championship was started in memory of Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, which then became the leading amateur golf championship of Kenya and currently the only one in the country being played over 72 holes.
In fact, the Coronation trophy was regarded as the Open Golf Championship of Kenya, before the current Magical Kenya Open was started in 1967. The 18 -hole course, which offers a beautiful view of Nakuru Town and Lake Nakuru, runs up and down the slope of the crater.
Current Club Captain Mathew Maiyo said: “As we celebrate this historic event, I am humbled as the host captain and would like to extend a warm invitation to the golfing fraternity in the country.”
He said the club has appointed legendary lady golfer Sarah Ainley, the mother of professional golfer Richard Ainley and USA-based top golfer Josephine Ainley, to take charge of the junior programmes.
“As we look into the future, junior golf is definitely paramount and I believe Sarah Ainley will assist us shape the future of golf in our club as we start a new decade. I am however very excited about this important achievement and I must congratulate our members on this milestone,” said Maiyo.