Why it will be tough to drive away in a Sh11 million Mercedes

By Robin Toskin: Sunday, March 17th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Golf
1st Hole-In-One Prize awaits winner during the Magic Kenya Open 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

You got to love the game of golf. This game of ladies and gentlemen boasts time honoured traditions that gives every player a fair chance of reaping from personal endeavour.

One such tradition is a hole-in-one, which rewards one’s skill, concentration and a huge dose of luck, of course!

In golf, a hole in one or hole-in-one occurs when a ball hit from a tee ends up in the cup.

Note also that a ball hit from a tee following a lost ball, out of bounds or water hazard is not a hole-in-one.

It is a custom practised almost religiously in all standardised golf competitions with bumper reward on offer.

At Karen Country Club where the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa teed off on Wednesday, hole number 14 rated par 3 has been designated as the hole-in-one. It is 192m from the tee.

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The prize for hitting straight from the tee to the hole? Well, Mercedes Benz GLC 250 coupe valued at Sh11 million courtesy of DT Dobbie is the ultimate prize.

In the 51 years Kenya Open has been played, only once has a player hit a hole-in-one, an honour that went to Oliver Lindell in 2017 at Muthaiga Golf Club.

For his troubles, Lindell from Finland drove away in a Ford Ranger Wildtrack valued at Sh6.795 million courtesy of CMC Motors.

Par 3 hole 13 was the officially designated hole-in-one at Muthaiga and the Finn had no trouble firing a 7-iron into the hole 173m from the tee.

For those who will not be able to hole-out-in one at Par 3 14th, they don’t have to worry for there is a chance to drown their sorrows with a Sh120,000 bottle of Johnnie Walker Odyssey.

All a golfer needs to do is strike the ball from the tee at the Par-3, 16th hole. Oh, you have to have made the cut by yesterday, anyway. It is that simple.

Meanwhile, the Magical Kenya Open and charity Glad’s House have combined to provide a former street child with a week she will never forget at Karen Country Club.

Anna Achieng is caddying this week for Marco Iten in Nairobi as Glad’s House and the European Tour continue their relationship, which strives to help the under privileged in East Africa.

Formed 12 years ago by Victoria Ferguson and Frederick ‘Bokey’ Achola in Mombasa, Glad’s House aims to improve the lives of young adults and children living on the streets by offering them counselling, training and, most importantly, a home.

 Glad’s House - named after Ferguson’s grandmother Gladys - started as a sports club but after registering as a charity, it established a partnership with golf resort Vipingo Ridge, allowing the young people it was working with to be caddies at the club.

Helped by funds from the European Tour, three professional caddies helped train them and the project was taken further, with some going on to caddie in the Kenyan tournament in recent seasons.

“She’s been helping me out all week,” he said. “We started on Monday and Tuesday with the practice rounds and it’s gone on from there.

“I was told she was one of the best caddies here and she did a perfect job. She helped me out a great deal.”