Upon completion, the facility will be 42nd golf course in Kenya

By WAINAINA NDUNG'U: Saturday, September 22nd 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Golf
Last golf tournament in exile for Meru golfers (From left) Meru County Sports Director John Kariuki, Isuzu Kenya Edna Mutwiri and Justus Mugaa a member of the Meru Golf Course Development Committee at the Nanyuki sports club on September 15, 2018. They were watching as James Kariuki (In white t-shirt) sensitized youths from Kambakia, Meru on the importance of having a golf course in Meru. The Committee were hoping that the Njuri Ncheke golf tournament held at Nanyuki sports club would be the last in exile. Among the perks listed were jobs and growth of revenue. [Olivia Murithi, Standard]

After nearly 60 years since Meru lost its only golf course, the county now wants to restore the facility whose absence robs the town its pride as Mt Kenya East regional hub.

Meru is one of the major towns in Mt Kenya region without a golf course and, once completed, it will be Kenya's 42nd golf course.

Only a few people recall Meru town’s former mini golf course that lies between Tuskys Bus Park and the County Police Commander’s office on the Meru-Nanyuki highway.

Justus Mugaa, a golfer, recalls seeing the ever green course. Mugaa’s says Meru town's golf course was irrigated by water from the now polluted Kanyuru stream.

In 2000, plans to revive golfing in the area almost became a reality and a fund drive was held in Nairobi. However, it never materialised even after several attempts.

Locals and the county government expect that the golf course will host the Njuri Ncheke Golf tournament, which is held in honour the Meru Supreme Council of Elders, as it has been held in other areas in the last 18 years.

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Kenya Golf Union said the move would raise Meru's golfing profile.

“This is indeed an opening and bringing the golf nearer to the people of Meru who should take advantage of the course.

"It's a good move and, as KGU, we shall support the club," said Lucas Maranga, Chairman Kenya Golf Union. 

"We also encourage the officials of the new club to focus on young players to produce young golfers who will later graduate to amateurs,” he said. 

Benjamin Inoti, the Kenya Golf Union Mt Kenya representative, said the potential of the proposed nine-hole golf course was enormous including 50 direct jobs and 70 caddies.

According to him, the club is estimated to have a membership of 1500.

“We expect increased hotel bookings and consumption of local produce due to increased traffic of visiting golfers,” said Inoti.

Ben Muthiora, a member of the golf course development committee, said they were looking forward to a breakthrough.

“We are hopeful that this is the last time the Njuri Ncheke tournament will be held outside Meru and that we shall get an opportunity to play closer to the elephants in Upper Imenti,” he said referring to the proposed site, which is near the forest known for its large number of elephants.