Golfing in Kenya


A Golfers Guide to Kenya


Ah, golf. The gentleman’s game. Deceptively simple and endlessly complicated, this is a sport best understood by those who play it; with a lackluster epithet as an expensive way of playing marbles by the despisers of the ritzy sport. That it’s a game for the wealthy perhaps needs no further introduction. For the lovers of the sport it hold true that you work, you save, and you invest so that when you finally clear your desk, you can enjoy an invigorating round of golf – if only to replicate the schema of learning from your failures and celebrating your success on the greens. Any fresh statistics on the uptake of golf, local and international, will prove that the growth of the sport, however moderate, is almost steadily on an upward trajectory. Closer to home, golfing in Kenya has blossomed from its origins as a preserve for the rich influential settler farmers. The veil and fear of big expenses to enjoy a round of golf, concomitantly late in life, is disappearing. A great many Kenyans are now taking interest in the sport, and the traditionally members-only golf clubs are returning the favour in kind by making access to greens more flexible and affordable. No one, of course, wants to begin learning to swing in their golden years. With the increasing global interest in golfing as a recreation, golfers are on the search for stimulating and uncrowded courses to go. Whether your thing is a few power swings, a round of golf while on vacation, improving your skills or thirsting for new challenges or somewhere in between, golfing in Kenya will treat you to fine memorable experiences few have enjoyed.

Aerial Views of Windsor Golf Hotel & County Club. By MicroDrone Kenya

Golf Tournaments in Kenya Calendar

DateClubEventHoles
January 17-18Sigona Golf ClubSigona Bowl54
February 1-2Nyeri Golf ClubMt. K. Championship36
February 21-22Muthaiga Golf ClubMuthaiga Open54
March 14-15Windsor Golf ClubWindsor Classic54
May 3-4Thika Sports ClubWinston Churchill36
May 17-18Kitale Golf ClubTrans Nzoia Champ.54
June 7-8Nakuru Golf ClubCoronation Trophy54
June 18-21Muthaiga Golf ClubKenya Amateur 72
July 4-5Limuru Golf ClubLimuru Open54
July 26-27Mombasa Golf ClubMombasa Open36
August 8-9Vet Lab Golf ClubKabete Open54
August 23-24Nyanza Golf ClubNyanza Open36
September 6-7Karen Golf ClubKaren Challenge54
September 20-21Kericho Golf ClubTea Fields Trophy36
October 16-18Sigona Golf ClubKenya Amateur Open72
November 1-2Eldoret Golf ClubManchester Silver36
December 5-6Railways Golf ClubUhuru Shield54
December 13-14Nyali Golf ClubNyali Open54

All date and events are based on the Kenya Golf Guide


List of Golf Courses in Kenya

1. Kakamega Sports Club

Refurbished and redeveloped from its humble beginning in the time of colonial rule, the private members-only Kakamega Sports Club with a 9-hole course set in the thick woody at the dormitory region of Kakamega Town (near Golf Hotel and Kakamega Hospital) hosts the only golf course in Kakamega County. The 9-hole course sits on about 50-acres of prime land along the Kakamega-Shinyalu Road, between the thriving Kakamega Town and Kakamega Forest Ecosystems. The current active membership of the club stands at about 1000 members with potential to accommodate almost 2,000 members. The members enjoy a wide range of facilities including: tennis court, large pool, restaurant and a bar. It is a reciprocating partner with Chemelil Club, Eldoret Club, Kampala Golf Club, the Karen County Club, Railways Golf Club, Kiambu Club, Kisii Sports Club, Kitale Golf Club, Limuru County Club, Machakos Club, Meru Sports Club, Mombasa Sports Club, Nakuru Athletic Club, Nakuru Golf Club, Nandi Bears Club, Njoro County Club, Nyahururu Sports Club and Nyanza Club. It sits 500m from town.

2. Kericho Golf Club

Started in 1927 by settler farmers, Kericho Golf Club has retained an admirable reputation for exemplary greens to date. Besides their good, well kept, nine hole course, callers to the Kericho Golf Club may also enjoy other club facilities like snooker, gym, squash and darts. Although it is essentially a members-only club, they accept guests and non-reciprocating members to play for a modest ‘green-fee’ charge of Kshs. 1,500. It is found off Kericho-Kisumu Road, within Kericho.

3. Limuru Country Club

There are four main routes of getting to Tigoni from Nairobi CBD: via Kiambu Road through Kiambu and Limuru Towns; via Banana-Raini Road through Ruaka; via A104 Nairobi-Nakuru Road through Limuru; and via Limuru Road onto Kabuku-Tigoni Road. The latter is the shortest and traditional route to Tigoni. Just north of Tigoni Dam, about 1 km before Tigoni Police Station and 2 kms before Brackenhurst Centre, sits Limuru Country Club, one of the top-hole golf clubs in Kenya. “Golfing in the Limuru area began back in 1926 when local farmers Scott, Bradshaw and some neighbours established a course and hotel at what is now the Brakenhurst Baptist Conference Centre. It opened it’s first nine holes in 1949 and the second nine holes in 1952. Other than the golf course, the club consists of lawn bowling, tennis courts, a cricket pitch, squash courts and a swimming pool” – Limuru Country Club. Unique to Limuru Club is the abutting plush cricket pitch – the only cricket pitch in East Africa that has a grass wicket.

4. Sigona Golf Club

Designed and constructed by Berkley-Mathews starting 1939, the sightly Sigona Golf Club with the pleasing austerity of its wooded surroundings is an 18-holes course which offers a formidable yet rewarding round of golf. Its toughest hole, number 7, that measures 465 yards for men played to a par 4, is a much-talked about challenge in the golfing circles. Sigona Golf Club, situated on a 250-acres prinked piece of land, is among the most prestigious golfing courses in Kenya. In addition, Sigona Golf Suites offer decorous accommodation for business and leisure travellers. It’s located 20 kms from Nairobi along Nairobi-Nakuru Road.

5. Windsor Golf Club

Ranked as one of “Africa’s Best Golf Resorts” by Business Daily and among the “11 of the world’s top city golf clubs” by CNN, the Victorian styled Windsor Golf Club lacks nothing in beauty and luxury. “What makes the course unique is the fact that it’s carved out of a tropical rainforest,” explains avid local golfer Mike Macharia – CNN. Aside from its fine 18-holes championship golf course, there’s also tennis, squash, cycling and petanque. Accommodation is provided in 130 tastefully-furnished rooms spread across acres of beautiful gardens from where guests can enjoy 4 restaurants, 3 bars, a club house, business centre, gym and spa, scenic jogging track that winds through a tropical forest and a heated pool. It is found 14 kms north of Nairobi in Ridgeways, via Kiambu and Kigwa Roads.

6. Kiambu Golf Club

Kiambu Golf Club was begun in 1916 with only 3 holes. In 1959 it was extended to 9 holes with the effort of Mr. E. B. Horne and the local villagers. It was later brought up to date with the browns converted into greens and with ace calibre of a nine-holes layout. The course’s length is 6858 yards with a par 72. Owing to proximity to Nairobi, the club has an open policy for non-members who wish to play on their greens and also hosts a number of popular tournaments to foster the sport. Kiambu Golf Club is set 15km from Nairobi on your way to Kiambu Town and a 100 m from Kiambu Police Station along the road to Kirigiti Centre.

7. Ruiru Sports Club

“Ruiru Sports Club started as a tennis club back in 1922. The club was moved to the present site in 1923 where land was available for a golf course. This was laid out by Mr. Overtone who was a Colonial Police Inspector at Ruiru. The course was re-constructed on an improved layout by club members in 1930 using large gangs of African Labourers and reconstructed the tees and browns. The pioneer golf captain was Mr. G.J. Glassford in 1930. Mr. John Ross took over as golf captain for the next twenty consecutive years, between 1931 to 1950. The club had 30 golfing members with reciprocal arrangements with Thika, Makuyu, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Eldoret. The first stone clubhouse was built in 1924. Since then it has been enlarged on a few occasions. The sport bar was presented to the club by Mr. B. Kopperud. Ruiru Sports Club has an open policy for day-golfers and temporary membership with a modest cover charge for playing the greens. Other facilities: bowling greens, tennis court and club house. It is located 32.5 kms from Nairobi CBD vial A2 Nairobi-Nanyuki-Moyale Road, near GSU Camp.

8. Thika Greens Golf Resort

Thika Greens Golf Resort is part of an 800 acre Golf Estate where residents are developing spectacular homes. The key feature of the Resort is an 18 hole par 72 championship golf course that sits on about 306 acres of a well manicured grass landscape. This magnificent golf course was a design by one of the leading golf architects – DDV Group of South Africa, and has been operational since 2014. With multiple tees per hole, this challenges the seasoned golfer and at the same time provides the upcoming golfer with an enjoyable course. All the leisure and living facilities at Thika Greens Golf Resort are open to both members and non-members. Facilities include: a fine restaurant and 18 hole championship course.


Vipingo Ridge: The Baobab Golf Course

9. Vipingo Ridge

The upmarket leisure and residential Vipingo Ridge Estate set up on 2500 acres of picturesque hinterlands has for a pièce de résistance the 19 Hole Baobab Golf Course ranked among the “Top 100 golf courses around the world” – CNN and among “Africa’s 10 leading golf course” – Business Daily.  This top-rated 72 par course, designed by golf legend David Jones, is one of two golf courses in Kilifi County.  Their opulent Clubhouse is the central meeting point at Vipingo Ridge. Among its other highlights include: Vipingo Beach Club, Vipingo Guest House, and the Kuruwitu Conservancy.  Vipingo Ridge is found 30 kms from Mombasa.

10. Malindi Golf and Country Club

Established in 1962, Malindi Golf and Country Club is a dashing 9-hole course measuring 6,000 yards for men and 5,200 yards for women, with a par of 70 for both. The course itself meanders through a series of pretty elephantine sand dunes with 6 par-threes and 4 par-fives on its finely contoured greens, making it both exciting and challenging. “The 9-hole course features a number of iconic holes and with separate tees and some additional greens on the second nine and certainly has the feel of a full 18-hole golf course”. Other highlights here include a 250 ms driving range, practice putting greens and practice bunker,clay tennis court, pro-shop, restaurant and bar. The club has a generous admission policy that includes full membership, junior membership, temporary membership and daily membership. There are some reasonable accommodation options nearby like the adjoining Ocean Beach Resort & Spa. Malindi Golf and Country Club is located 3 kms north of Malindi via Malindi-Garsen Road and Golf Course Drive.

11. Kisii Sports Club

Founded in 1914 by then Colonial Provincial Administrator in charge of South Kavirondo region, situated 1.5 kms west of the Kisii township along B3 Kisii-Rongo Road and abutting the Gusii Stadium, Kisii Golf Club is a pretty 9-hole course measuring 5,703 yards for men and 4,847 yards for women, with a par of 70 for both. Initially opened to the public for recreation by Kisii County Council for a couple of years, Kisii Golf Club was eventually re-consolidated back as the Golf Club.  Despite its unusual locale at hand with Kisii Town and set on a hill, it offers a good round of golf. Other amenities: lounge, clubhouse and pro-shop.

12. Nyanza Golf Club

There are two major roads radiating out of Kisumu City, the B1 Kisumu-Busia Road and the A1 Kisumu-Vihiga Road. The A1 travels north through Kakamega before heading west from Webuye Town as A104 through Bungoma to Malaba border point, 154 kms away. The B1 travels northwesterly through Maseno, Yala and Bumala to terminate at the Busia border point, 112 kms away. Shortly after leaving Kisumu along B1 Kisumu-Busia Road, one arrives at Nyanza Golf Club. It is set on the northwestern edge of Kavirondo Gulf across from Tilapia Beach, and is one of a handful of waterfront golf courses in Kenya. Founded in 1930 as a members-only club offering sporting facilities to its members and guests, its main attraction is the 9-hole golf course measuring 6,211 yards with a par of 70. One of the highlights is Kisat River which meanders through the course. Daily membership and temporary membership are offered to guests. It’s located 2.5 kms from the main town along Oginga Odinga and Mumias Roads onto the B1.

13. Nyahururu Golf Club

It’s easy to argue that the best golf courses in Kenya are found in Nairobi and its environs, and one would be correct considering the sheer number of courses in that region. Around the country, golf has a become a byword for the blossoming middle-class in Kenya, with many long in the tooth courses started in colonial years receiving substantial revamping, even complete overhauls, to cater on a professional standard for the avid golfers. The high altitude Nyahururu Golf Club course, just 2 kms outside the main township along the C77 Nyahururu-Maralal Road, is one of the better nine hole courses in the country. It is a fairly capacious course on the edge of Marmanet Forest played 6,570 yards for men and 5,937 yards for women, with a par of 72. In 2016 the Nation Media Group, the largest independent media house in East Africa, supported the inaugural Nation Classic Golf Series, bolstering the popularity of the club which also host tournaments like Kenya Golf Union Series and Smirnoff Cup. The last few years have been anything but great for golfers in Kenya, with a healthy catalog of well maintained golf courses with cheaper rates and attractive reciprocating terms. The prosperity of Nyahururu Golf Club in meeting the needs of the country’s growing craze for golf could only get better if, as enthusiasts hope, it continually develops the facilities. The club was officially inaugurated in November of 1936.

14. Machakos Golf Club

This is found 1 km from Machakos Town along C99 Machakos-Kangundo Road. The road travels northerly through Mitaboni before arriving at Kangundo Town 39 kms away. The 9-holes course with long sprawls of indigenous grass on a course that previously had more brown than there were greens measures 3,206 yards for men and 2,870 yards for women, played on a par-36 on the Front 9. “The course went through a major change in 2007 where the former Browns were replaced by Greens which were done to USGA specification and planted with a Bermuda grass species that is adapted well to the local conditions. Also, thousands of maturing trees have been planted and line the fairways which are generously wide. In the dry season, the ball runs a lot making everybody a long hitter until the rains when handicaps take an uphill turn owing to its length.” The course is scenic with a seasonal river running through the middle to a dam which supplies water for irrigating the greens, tees and fairways. Its toughtest hole, the 7th played to a par-4, is a 474 yard dogleg right monster with a carry of 300 yards to clear the corner – the second shot plays into the wind to a blind green that slopes away from you and is guarded by huge bunkers on either side. To encourage the sport, the club hosts regular tourneys each weekend including Machakos Ladies Open Golf Day. Some of the major tournaments held here are Madison Insurance Golf Tournament, Kitui Golfers Tournament and Konza Technopolis Golf Tournament. Other amenities at Machakos Golf Club are table and lawn tennis, snooker, squash, a darts room, swimming pool and a pro shop.

15. Mombasa golf Club

The scenic Mombasa Golf Club backdropped by the city line with wide-angled sea-facing views is the pinnacle of golf on Mombasa Island. Set at southeastern corner of the Island, along Mama Ngina Drive, this course places a premium on careful shot selection and putting. It’s a combination of beautiful natural setting with a golf course that is both challenging and fun. Launched on June 27, 1911, and over the years spending considerable sums of money on the 9-hole course, the beautifully manicured fairways and greens are bordered by sweeping dunes mixed with native grasses and bunkers. Its longstanding tournament, the Barry Cup, was foremost played in 1913 and won by Mr. Percy Berry, then honorary treasurer and captain, who went on to win the cup in the preceeding four years. The Barry Cup has been played under the aegies of the Kenya Golf Union since 1928 but only two local coast based golfers have won it in the past four decades.

16. Nyali Golf & County Club

When it comes to ocean holes, the first that often comes to mind is the Nyali Golf and Country Club in stirring sequence along a bluff overlooking the Indian Ocean. The ocean itself doesn’t come to play, but it makes its presence felt throughout your round of golf with an influence in the the lick of salt spray and stirring breezes. Nyali is a true seaside paradise – its perfectly formed greens flanked by flamboyant flame trees, its fairways alive with troops of velvet monkeys – and it’s no wonder golfers rank it among the best courses in Kenya. “And at the impeccably maintained fairways, they have planted the durable Bermuda grass from South Africa and mixed it with indigenous varieties. At Nyali, the picturesque golf course is lined with flowering trees, desert roses, oleander flowers, towering flame trees which house the monkeys.” – Business Daily. Expanding over 160-acres, its inceptive nine holes were commissioned in 1956, with the second nine completed in 1980. The 18-hole course’s men’s tee yardage is 6,510, and the ladies is 5,431 yards. It has a club house and pro-shop.

17. Makuyu Golf Club

Launched in 1933 with its first tournament held the following year in 1934, the 9-hole Makuyu Golf Club featuring more browns that greens is set just outside the A1 Nairobi-Nyeri Road at Makuyu. The 90-acres covered by the golf club, and completely enclosed by the Kakuzi Ranch, is privately held. The 9-hole golf course measuring 5,447 yards is played to a par 70. One of its highlights is the backdrop of Ol Donyo Sabuk (Mount Kilimanjaro) and the wooded landscape around Kakuzu Ranch. Makuyu Golf Club offers various kinds of membership including single-day membership access. In hosts Carnival Golf Tournament in May. Other amenities: club house, badminton, volleyball, lawn tennis and darts.

18. Karen Country Club

The first nine holes at the Karen Country Club were laid out in 1933 and after ten years, in 1943, the second nine holes were designed, on parts of the former Karen Blixen coffee estate. “In those early days, golfers shared the course with baboons, zebra, eland and every so often lions would roam the golf course and interrupt both play and maintenance”. With the exception of the occasional lengthening of the golf course, not much has changed in the course layout at Karen. The original clubhouse was constructed in 1937 and in early 1977 a fire burnt down the building. A new clubhouse was built and ready for use in 1979. The Kenya Open was first held at Karen in 1968. At that time, M. Bambridge was the professional winner and Karen member David Farrar was the winner of the amateur silver salver. Karen Club hosted the Kenya Open again from 2004 to 2008, 2013 to 2016, and 2019. The entire course is impeccable, with a four-way mix of bent grass varieties, which is dark green in colour. It is, perhaps, the closing Hole 18 – 559 yards that get a hats-off: a challenging par-5 with a water hazard about 140 yards short of the pitching green. It is located off Karen Road.

19. Royal Nairobi Golf Club

Royal Nairobi Golf Club, established in 1906, is an excellent international golf course where all levels of golfers enjoy a great testing experience. Throughout the course, each element has been positioned carefully and is expertly detailed to make for a thrilling play. Unique to the Club is that it is fairly long compared to most other Kenyan courses. The part of the golf course that is closest to the club house is fairly flat while the part at the back of the course is undulated with a small stream meandering over the course. Its tremendous variety with careful and creative design pieces itself together as an exiting challenge for golfers of all levels. The Tanahill Shield, which was inaugurated in 1924 and more popular as the Easter Tournament, is traditionally played here during the Easter Holidays.

20. Railways Golf Club

This is set at the corner of Ngong Road and Uhuru Highway (A104 Mombasa-Uganda Road). It is backdropped by the high-rise towers at Upper Hill, more proper Capitol Hill, and sits across from Kenya Railways Headquarters and the Railways Museum. “This is a remarkable nine hole par-72 course, measuring 5,900 yards, boasting lush greens, “tight” fairways, beautiful mature trees, a clubhouse, changing rooms and cabro carpark in Nairobi’s green-belt”. It was begun in June, 1935, when the golf club was first formed. In 1942, it opened its first 5-hole golf course south of the main Nairobi City near Reflection Lake (in Uhuru Park). The Golden Golf Club was incorporated as a non-profit society in 1962, and continues under this designation in present day. Railways Golf Club is notable as one few pay and play golf course in Kenya, providing the residents of Nairobi with an affordable golfing experience on the first class playing club. The entrance is situated along Ngong Road, and opposite Railways Sports Club.

21. Muthaiga Golf Club

Founded in 1922 and christened the ‘home of golf in Kenya’, Muthaiga Country Club is in many ways the ultimate embodiment of Kenya’s peculiar marriage of aged golf traditions and a stately 18-Hole Championship Golf Course. To date, Muthaiga Country Club is home to the Kenya Golf Union. On December 29th, 1928, the Kenya Golf Union was inaugurated, and its first member clubs were Eldoret, Gilgil, Kiambu, Kitale, Nairobi and Muthaiga. “The first attempt to form a Golf Union in East Africa, similar to Golf Unions in the United Kingdom and other parts of the Commonwealth, took place at a meeting convened by the late Mr. A. C. Tannahill and held at Nairobi Golf Club (now Royal Nairobi Golf Club) on July 7th, 1923.” – Kenya Golf Union. The Kenya Open, part of the European Tour, was started here in 1967 and remains the biggest golf event in the region. In 2001, the Club engaged services of the well-known South African Golf Course Design and Architect Peter Matkovich (of Matkovich & Hayes) to modernize the course and, to address multiple aspects of the course to make it more joyous to play on. It is found in Muthaiga along Thika and Kiambu Roads.

22. Vetlab Sports Club

The 18-hole golf course at Vetlab Sports Club, consisted of well-laid greens of hybrid blend bent-grass compatible with the weather and in line with USPGA recommendations, is one of the leading golfing and leisure facilities in Kenya. It operated as a 9-hole golf course until 2007, with members keen on expanding it to an 18-hole course, completing the sequential 18 holes with an investment of over Kshs 60 million. The value of Vet Lab Sports Club as recreation and green oasis amidst Nairobi’s concrete jungle cannot be gainsaid. And it is currently the only golf course in Kenya constructed on public land and to which end its membership is open to every Kenyan and visitor to Kenya within the provisions of the club’s constitution. Indeed, it is one of the most sought after courses for golf enthusiasts. Other amenities: A modern sports bar (the water hazard) with a stunning view of the 18th green with its outside greenery blending in with the interior to match the color pallet of the landscape; a well-equipped gymnasium for all members (at an annual fee of Kshs 16,800); conferencing facilities. It’s located 15 kms from the City at Loresho via Waiyaki Way and Kapenguria Road.

23. Barons Park and Golf Centre

Once the utmost stopover on the journey from Nairobi to Nakuru, the Delamere Kobil Service Station Shop along Naivasha to Nakuru Road existed as one the most endorsed shops in Kenya. This has all changed. Nakuru County is now a rapidly developing outward-looking county, and many modern stretch and rest stops have taken root. Even so, Nakuru, whose splendid lakes have lured many from far and wide, is still largely a transit county, and chains of hotels and malls are attractively sited throughout its road system. Up until now, Delamore shop is a liked half-way stop. Among its recent attractions, established in 2015, is the Barons Park & Golf Centre. Here, it’s hassle-free. Young and old, pay and play. Open till late, this site indiscriminately allows anyone to have a go at the driving range and, true to course, “it’s meant to demystify the belief that the sport is a rich-mans-game”. It also targets young and upcoming golfers who cannot afford the high club fees. Professional and upcoming golfers can complete its 9-holes.

24. Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort

While Nakuru County is more popular for its National Parks and superb wildlife resources, it is only in the past decade or two that the world has become aware of the fact that Nakuru has some of the most transcendent resorts and camping grounds in Kenya. An increasing number of travellers, already in the thousands every year, are coming to these resorts primarily for a weekend or longer stay, with trips to National Parks thrown in as extras. One such establishment, whose popularity has soared through the roof in the past decade, is the revered Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort. Both the Lodge and the Club are beautifully situated, the lodge itself raised on the Eburru Mountains, at 7000 ft, with eye-catching outlooks of Lake Naivasha, Mount Longonot, and the Aberdare Range. Accommodation is provided in 21 twin and nine double rooms, all with private balconies overlooking the spectacular expanse of the Rift Valley. The rooms are located in spacious two and three storey houses which are beautifully furnished with large four-poster beds, handmade wooden furniture, and modern en suite bathrooms. Several of the rooms have interlinking doors that convert them into spacious family suites. Alternative accommodation is available at the Longonot Villas; 40 modern three-tier three-bedroomed houses. Other amenities include the 18-hole championship golf course – voted Africa’s Best Golf Hotel in 2016, swimming pool, tennis courts, bar and restaurant, conference facilities and its own airstrip connecting with Samburu, Masai Mara or Nairobi. It is located 24 kms from Naivasha Town and 12 kms from A104 Nairobi-Nakuru Road turnoff.

25. Gilgil Golf Club

Driving past Kigio Wildlife Conservancy and Gilgil Weigh Bridge the turnoff to C77 Gilgil-Nyahururu Road is reached. A good bitumen road connects Gilgil and Thomson’s Falls taking a fascinating route over the Aberdare Range to drop down into Nyahururu, the jumping-off town to Laikipia. This means a scramble up an unrelenting steep from the floor of the Rift Valley to the higher highlands of Nyandarua, an area covering part of Aberdare Forest and farmlands. It is a wildly beautiful drive of stack ecological contrast. Just 5 kms from the junction Gilgil Golf Club is reached. Founded in 1928, the 9-hole golf course which has more browns than it has greens is scenically pleasing and inviting for a round of golf. The course, found next to Pembroke School, offers a nifty mix of play, with its back-nine-play differing significantly from the front-nine; with some of the pars changing.  The original club house was raised down by a fire in the 1940’s that gave way for its current one. Great Rift Golf Course is located 20 kms away.

26. Nandi Bears Club

Whilst the Nandi Bears Club dates back to 1928, teeing-off at the sans-pareil 9-hole 70-par golf course did not get underway until 1935, then a preserve for the rich tea farmers. Adulated as one of the grueling golf courses in Western Kenya, Nandi Bears Club has grown in popularity as one of the prestigious courses in Kenya, and now host of many tournaments including the Gill Trophy and Kenya Breweries’ Festival of Golf. Its name was originated from an old-wives tales of folkolic bears associated with the thick forests at hand. “The Nandi bear, locally known as “kerit”, was a mysterious beast, believed to have lived near where the Nandi Bears Club sits, eons ago, before facing extinction – Nation Media. Nandi Bear Club is located next to Koitalel Arap Samoei Museum in Nandi Hills Town.


Nyeri Golf Club in Nyeri County. Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor
Nyeri Golf Club in Nyeri County. Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor

27. Nyeri Golf Club

Started in 1910 by Reggie McClure and Sandbach Baker as a 9-hole course, later extended to 18-hole in 1934, this pleasing course is the second oldest in Kenya after the Royal Nairobi Golf Club started in 1906. What is offers in spectacular scenery is expiated with a difficult mountainous course. Helpfully, the Club has maintained a tradition of well manicured greens flanked by the tall indigenous trees.  In 2016, they put in a sheltered starters-cabin that offers a much needed rest area. NGC hosts the annual Kibaki Cup inaugurated by former President Mwai Kibaki on the 2nd of September, 2001. It is located 1.3 kms from White Rhino Hotel along the Baden Powell-Kamakwa Road. The equally impressive 9 hole golf course at Aberdare Country Club that is found 16 kms away at Mweiga.

28. Aberdare Country Club

Characterful old-English style buildings, alpine air, open fires, wild Africa – all in a dreamy idyllic resort aptly chronicled as the “Haven Under the Hill”, this 1,300-acres fairyland was selected, with much emotion, by an English couple who had decided to settle in Kenya. Its wealth for wildlife was the main reason for it to be declared a wildlife sanctuary. It has plenty of Kenya’s high-minded species which include: impala, zebra, giraffe and the elusive leopard. Originally known as the ‘The Steep’ for its portentous set up on a slope of the Mweiga Hill overlooking the spellbinding golden plains of Laikipia and Mount Kenya, it was later reestablished as the Aberdare Country Club and opened for guests. All in all, it has 47 rooms – 20-twins, 20-doubles, 2-triples, 3-deluxe, 1-VIP Suite and 1-room for physically disabled – each with a fireplaces lit on request. There are lots of other good reasons for escaping to this leisurely hidey-hole. You’ll have the choice of golfing at the 9-hole golf course, play tennis, take a mountain bike ride and swim in the heated swimming pool with fine views. You can also dine elegantly after a day of unrivalled game drive at Solio Ranch. It is located about 28 kms from Nyeri, near Mweiga Town, via B5 Nyeri-Mweiga-Nyahururu Road.

29. Kitale Golf Club

Founded in 1924 as an 18-holf golf course, that measures 6,990 yards with a par 73, it is one of the foremost courses of the 36 golf clubs in Kenya. Aside from its surpassing greens and beautiful surrounding landscape, Kitale Golf Club is also well-known for the variety of monkeys that marshal its fairways. It plays host to numerous top-rate tournaments like the Chairman’s Putter, Kenya Seed Classic Tournament and Kitale Tournament. It is located along B2 Kitale-Eldoret Road.

30. Eldoret Golf Club

Across from the turnoff to the B54 Eldoret-Kaptagat-Nyaru Road is the road to Elgon View Estate and Eldoret Golf Club. Launched in 1924 as a members only club (currently at about 1,200 members) it is situated in beautiful grounds just outside Eldoret Town, on what was once farmland. It has a vibrant Clubhouse, with stocked bar and restaurant services; 32 cottage style en-suite rooms, gym, tennis courts, squash court, badminton court, swimming pool, gymnasium and sauna. It crowning-piece is well designed nine-hole golf course. It is played to a par 71. “The main highlight of the course at Eldoret is the ever present River Sosiani that snakes its way across almost all holes; from the opening hole where it lines the right hand side of the fairway to the third, the long par-4, where the river guards the front of the green, giving little room for wayward approach shots into this green”. The Club is situated along Nandi Road (off A104 Eldoret-Nairobi Road) opposite Eldoret Hospice, and about 6 kms from the main town.



Play of the Game

Golf is a game in which a ball is struck with a club from a prepared area, known as the “teeing ground”, across the fairway and rough to a second prepared area, which has a hole in it, known as the “putting green”. The object of the game is to complete what is known as a hole by playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole on the putting green in the fewest possible number of strokes. A “round of golf” consists of playing 18 such holes. There are basically two forms of play, one which is decided by holes won and lost (match play) and the other which is decided by the total number of strokes taken to complete the round (the stroke play). There are three high-ranking principles to remember when playing golf: Play the course as you find it; Play the Ball as it lies. And if you can’t do either, do what’s fair.” To do what’s fair you need to know the Rules. The following is a summary of the Rules of Golf, simplified where possible. Etiquette covers both the ‘game courtesy and priority’ on the course as well as ‘care of the golf course’:

  1. Don’t move, talk or stand close to a player making a stroke
  2. Don’t play until the group in front is out of the way.
  3. Always play without delay.
  4. Leave the putting green as soon as you’ve holed out.
  5. Invite faster groups to play through.
  6. Replace divots. Smooth footprints in bunkers.
  7. Don’t step on the line of another player’s putt.
  8. Don’t drop clubs on the putting green.
  9. Replace the flagstick carefully.

Common Definitions in Golf

The definitions section of the rules of golf contains over forty definitions which form the foundation around which the rules of play are written. A good knack of the defined terms will help in the correct application of the rules. These include:

Teeing Ground – the starting place for the hole, defined by two tee-markers. Through the Green – the whole area of the golf course except the teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played and all hazards. Hazards – any bunker or water hazard. Putting Green – area set for putting and with a 41/2 inch diameter hole. Out of Bounds – ground on which play is prohibited i.e. not part of the the golf course. A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds. Loose Impediments – natural objects like stones, leaves and twigs provided they are not fixed or growing, or solidly embedded and not sticking to the ball. Obstructions – any man-made object, except: (1) objects defining out of bounds; (2) any part of an immovable man-made object which is out of bounds; and (3) any construction declared by the Committee in the Local Rules to be an integral part of the course. Casual Water – any temporary accumulation of water on the course visible before or after the player takes his stance (dew and frost are not casual water). Ground Under Repair – any portion of the course so marked. This also includes materials piled for removal.


Barclays Kenya Open is Kenya’s premier professional golf tournament and part of European Challenge Tour. In 2016, the 48th Barclays Kenya Open was held at the Karen Country Club, moving to the Muthaiga Golf Club in 2017 – 18, before making a return to Karen Country Club in 2019.

The Rules of Play

General Points

Before commencing your round:
1. Read the Local Rules on the scorecard.
2. Put an identification mark on your ball. Many golfers play the same brand of ball and if you can’t identify your ball, it’s lost.
3. Count your clubs. You are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs.

During the round, don’t ask for “advice” from anyone except your partner. Don’t give advice to anyone except your partner. Don’t play a practice stroke. Teeing Off: Tee off between and not in front of the tee-markers. You may tee off up to two club-lengths behind the front line of the tee-markers. Teeing off outside this area – in match play there is no penalty but your opponent may ask you to replay your stroke; in stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty and must then play from within the proper area. Playing the Ball: Play the ball as it lies. Don’t improve your lie, the area of your intended swing or your line of play by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing except in fairly taking your stance or making your swing. Don’t press anything down or build a stance. If your ball lies in a bunker or a water hazard don’t touch the ground in the bunker, or the ground or water in the water hazard, before your downswing.