Twenty junior golfers were treated to a golf clinic yesterday by four of the Ladies European Tour professionals and amateur Kenyan player Naomi Wafula at the ongoing Magical Kenya Ladies Open at Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi.
The clinic, sponsored by Safaricom’s M-PESA, aimed to inspire young golfers from the Junior Golf Foundation and bolster national efforts in nurturing budding Kenyan golf talent as part of a country-wide initiative to expand horizons through the sport. It is hoped the world will see a Kenyan golfer play in the Olympics by 2028.
The juniors, boys and girls of different ages, were from Vipingo Ridge’s weekly golf program for underprivileged children from the local village, as well as from a similar scheme at Nyali Golf Club. Both programs are supported by a new partnership between KGU/KLGU and U.S. Kids Golf that aims to get young Kenyans into golf and fall under the Junior Golf Foundation umbrella.
Alex Swayne, Rochelle Morris, Gabrielle Macdonald, Luiza Altmann from the Ladies European Tour, as well as Kenya’s Naomi, attended the session. Each player introduced themselves, explaining at what age they started playing the game and the journey they have been on to reach the point where they are at now. After this, the players took it in turns to show the children how they play with certain clubs.
Vipingo Ridge’s Director of Golf Saleem Haji said that the clinic aimed to coach the junior players, inspire the next generation of golfers, and showcase how sport can be leveraged to uplift quality of life for Kenyans.
“Part of the agreement we have with the Government and the sponsors is that we have to use some of the funds we get to grow the game. Recently, there has been a really positive growth with junior golf, thanks to initiatives such as getting the U.S. Kids Golf organisation to come and do training sessions for the coaches. The training methods are really unique and effective for kids because the attention span for kids is really short, and you need to engage them quickly and get them to doing stuff.”
“Today was a little different because the players are effectively in a bubble, and they can’t freely interact with the kids as we would like them to, but the demonstration of just how good these pros are was to give them the motivation to keep working on their skills regardless of whether they come from a privileged background or underprivileged background. Golf is a great equalizer as it doesn’t really care where you come from; it only depends how well you play.”
On his part, Vipingo Ridge Chairman, Alastair Cavenagh, said: “We are glad to have hosted this golf clinic today in partnership with Safaricom as part of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open activities. It was an important experience for the young golfers as they got a chance to interact with some of the world’s best lady golfers and got to learn from them, not only on matters golf but also some important life values associated with the sport.