Last updated 1 year ago | By Vincent Wangombe
I have been feeling like an itinerant golfer these past few months, possessed of an urge to play a round or two on all courses in our beautiful country.
I am now a veritable member of “team Tanga Tanga” (wandering team) in as far as playing golf is concerned.
My travels took me to Kitale this past weekend. I arrived there last Friday in time to witness golfers from different courses in the country putting in their final practice round for the 84th Trans Nzoia Open Championship.
Sitting at the verandah of the Kitale Club last Sunday afternoon with Mt. Elgon forming the backdrop for the golf course, I watched as Matthew Wahome holed his final putt to finish his final round several strokes ahead of the nearest competitor.
The Nyali Golf and Country Club member was not daunted by the high altitude and cold drizzle as he beat the other golfers on the course.
Wahome has now joined Samuel Njoroge, the current leader in Kenyan amateur ranking, in team Tanga Tanga.
Njoroge is today playing his practice round at Portmarnock Golf Club in Ireland, the hosts of the 124th Amateur Championship.
The Amateur Championship attracts only the crème de la crème of amateur golfers in the world.
According to the World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is maintained by The R&A, Njoroge is currently ranked 14th in Africa and 526th in the world.
He will be part of the field of 288 amateur golfers from different parts of the world who will be competing for The Amateur Champion title and an exemption to play with the big boys at the 2019 Open Championship which will be played at the same venue.
The 2019 Amateur Champion will also get an exemption to play in the 2020 Masters Tournament and the 2020 US Open.
Njoroge, who has been in a very good form lately, has a few days to acclimatise to the cold, wet and windy Dublin weather before taking on the best amateur golfers in the world.
He has been head and shoulders above all the amateur golfers in the country and the Kenya Golf Union, in an effort to grow the game in the country, has supported his bid to play at this international stage.
The Kenya Golf Union is also giving the regular weekend golfer an opportunity to represent the country on the world stage later this year.
The Union has launched the Windhoek Lager International Pairs series which will kick-off tomorrow at Ruiru Sports Club.
It will be followed by 13 other events in various clubs with the grand finale taking place at Muthaiga Golf Club on August 31.
The theme of the series is “friendships and partnership” which resonates well with the format of play that will be four ball Stableford for all the competitions.
In the four ball Stableford format, two players enter as a team. The best score for the team is entered for each hole with the best five teams from each of the qualifying rounds moving on to play in the grand finale in Muthaiga.
The winners of the series will represent Kenya in the International Pairs Competition in Portugal later this year.
In the past, the Kenya Golf Union sanctioned events have been synonymous with the top amateurs like Samuel Njoroge and Matthew Wahome.
This has kept most “weekend-golfers” away from any tournament that were organised by the Union.
This will be a great opportunity for regular weekend hackers, like myself, to look for a partner and stand a chance to represent Kenya in a competition designed for casual golfer.
This time, “team Tanga Tanga” is going international.
All one needs is a set of golf clubs, a good partner and a sense of adventure to be a member.
Wang’ombe is a Kenya Golf Union Executive