Vetlab to host Kibaki Memorial Trophy

Outgoing Kenya Ladies Golf Union (KLGU) Chairman Rosemary Olonde in action at Vet Labs Sports Club course, February 11, 2023. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

VetLab Sports Club will on Saturday host a field of over 200 golfers for the Mwai Kibaki Memorial Trophy tournament in honour of the late third President of Kenya.

The meet is to commemorate the late President who launched an 18-hole layout at the 100-year-old facility in 2014.

Vetlab is playing host to the event to also acknowledge the efforts of Kibaki who's also a former patron of Kenya Golf Union (KGU). He succeeded former Central Bank of Kenya Governor Duncan Ndegwa as patron of KGU in the mid-80s.

As the first patron of Kenya Golf Union (KGU) in 1976, Ndegwa used Kibaki's position as Minister for Finance and Planning to ensure that parcels of land on which golf clubs were built were protected from land grabbers.

According to club captain Anik Patel, a lot has been done already in readiness for the tournament which is part of its centenary celebrations as the club turns 100, having been founded in 1923.

"We are all set and proud to be hosting the second edition of Kibaki Trophy Memorial Tournament as part of our centenary celebrations. The course is in impeccable condition, and we look forward to championship tournaments and good scores as well," Anik said.

As a 6-hole golf course, it was expanded to a 9-hole in 1949, and in 2014, it became an 18-hole course.

Golf has a long history in Kenya; the country's first golf course -The Nairobi Golf Club, now the Royal Golf Club - was opened in 1906, six years after the arrival of the East African Railway. The Meru (now defunct) and Nyeri Golf Clubs were opened in 1910 with Mombasa Golf Club opening shortly after in 1911.

Kenya Golf Union (KGU) was set up in 1928 to promote the interests of the game in the colony and protectorate of Kenya, and to control the amateur golf championship of Kenya. With the entry of ladies in the game in the 1930s, the Kenya Ladies Golf Union (KLGU) was established to take care of their interests.

Unfortunately, over time golf clubs became the target of land grabbers. With support from J.R Njenga who was Commissioner of Lands at the time, he made sure that parcels of land on which the remaining golf clubs sat were protected.

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