The JGF has worked hard to open golf up to all juniors across the regions of Kenya, giving young people access to equipment and courses, as JGF President Regina Gachora describes.
“We are demystifying the view of golf as an elite sport, changing it to one of a sport that can be played by any child in the country,” she says. “With JGF membership, which is under $10 a year, juniors can play at any golf club for under $1. This makes it affordable for children from different walks of life to adopt the game of golf.”
JGF membership is up 20% this year (from 1,700 to 2,100 members) and the organisation hosted 15 tournaments around the country with over 1,200 participants. More than 1,000 kids attended golf clinics.
And young Kenyan players are already enjoying success in big events. At this year’s Magical Kenya Open on the DP World Tour, leading Kenyan junior golfer Njoroge Kibugu made the cut and went on to win the amateur silver salver. He’s now attending Indian Hills College in Iowa.
To elite level success
Moving forward, the JGF’s work will not only significantly assist the development of grassroots golf in Kenya, but it will also form the basis of an elite programme allowing more talented players to progress to colleges and the professional game. The ambition is to see Kenyan players compete at the highest level, amateur and professional, with one aim being to have players representing Kenya in the 2028 Olympics.
“When The R&A heard of this vision, they embraced it and have helped us set in motion plans to reach the goal,” says Vincent Wangombe. “The R&A is a valuable partner in the achievement of the developmental goals of golf in Kenya.”
Regina Gachora is also clear on the strength of the ongoing relationship. “It’s important as what the JGF is doing is a new frontier, growing golf not only in Kenya but also showing what could happen in East and Central Africa,” she says. “Through their golf development sponsorship, The R&A greatly helps our work. They also have introduced us to elite programmes in South Africa and the Faldo Series which gives junior golfers the chance to compete at a higher level.”
With the efforts of JGF and the likelihood of golf being included on PE curriculums around the country, it’s a hugely exciting time for junior golf, and the future of golf in Kenya. With the sport opening up across the regions and across the social demographic, there’s a huge wealth of sporting talent for golf to tap into. The goal of Olympic participation in the near future is a realistic one.