Golfers relish their dalliance with game believed to be for high and mighty

By Robin Toskin: Friday, March 15th 2019 at 01:10 GMT +3 | Golf


Kenyan Professional David Wakhu at the Magical Kenya Open 2019 at Karen Country Club, March 13, 2019 [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

As we get down to interview him, Dismas Indiza cheekily and with an infectious smile tells us “sitaki Kizungu mingi,” before quickly chipping in,  “Tufanye hii maneno kwa Kiswahili, sawa?”

“Hii ni game na haitaki kizungu mingi,” Indiza went on as we straightened the microphone cable ready for the brief interview ahead of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa at Karen Country Club this week.

Later we came across yet another local professional, David Wakhu, living his dream even after what he explains as “masomo ilikataa, but I am okay doing what I love most — golf.”

It is not that Indiza cannot speak fluent English, but the 50-year-old professional golfer is quite at ease speaking the language that connects him to his roots.

In fact in the brief interview, Indiza easily and calmly outlines his ambition at this tournament in English.

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“I make money out of this game. As a professional, I know the discipline it takes to perform at the highest level. It pays to play golf that is why I would encourage aspiring golfers to get into it wholeheartedly,” said Indiza.

Starting out as caddie back in 1992 at Nandi Bears about 310 km west of the Kenyan capital Nairobi Indiza represents a generation of local players, who have overcome stereotypes that golf is the game of the rich.

Like Indiza, Wakhu, also started out as a caddie and has since scaled up the ranks to become one of the most competitive local professional golfers.

“Looking back, I cannot complain. I could not crack it in class but with golf, I am better off as a human being. Golf has taught me to be disciplined and responsible especially with my earnings knowing this is my realistic chance to break from a difficult past,” Wakhu now a BetLion brand Ambassador said.

Historians trace the origin of the sport back to the 1400s in Scotland. Initially outlawed by Scottish kings James II and James IV, who believed it conflicted with military training, golf later developed helped considerably by its popularity among the ruling class. Mary, Queen of Scots often played, her clubs carried by students she called “cadets.”

Through the years, the game has grown and is now dominated by the rich in Kenya - It is said golf courses are the places the high and mighty in the society ‘cut deals.’

To have, therefore, such stars as Wakhu and Indiza with their humble beginnings to navigate through class barriers, is a remarkable determination to write their own story.