Where was the Kenyan magic at the Sh241m golf tournament?
Last week the Magical Kenya Open animated the city in need of rain. It took place against a backdrop of drought, political unrest and rising inflation. I was very interested in the golf tournament for several reasons.
First, I’m not showing myself, I’m just reporting that I’m playing golf.
Second, the prize money, and third, we should take golf and its economics as seriously as we do athletics.
This game is shrouded in mysticism, but it’s a very simple game.
You do the same thing 18 times in one round of golf. What can’t you learn by repeating it 18 times?
What changes with each hole is the distance you hit the ball from and the number of shots into the hole, either three, four or five times.
The rules of the game are less complicated than the constitution.
Golf defies age, children and octogenarians play the game with handicaps that they compensate. A handicap is a number that shows how good you are at the game. The lower the handicap, the better you are. The number ranges from 54 to about zero.
The handicap varies slightly depending on how difficult the course is, e.g. B. Trees, flattery, water features, etc.
The health benefits of the game are two. First there is the physical aspect. You train by running about 12 km in 18 holes. This distance is equivalent to walking from the Kenya School of Government (KSG),
Lower Kabete to downtown or Umoja 1 to Central Business District (CBD). The fun of the game rarely makes you feel this distance.
The second aspect is emotional. The four hours of this game will force you to “forget” your troubles or worries.
They can be home or work related. The game acts as an emotional sink. This level of relaxation makes the game a good antidote to stress. No wonder CEOs love it. Add other sedentary workers.
Why is the game shrouded in mystery? For one, a few follow.
Unlike football, which is watched from childhood, golf is rarely watched on TV by ordinary people. Golf courses are often hidden behind trees. With cars coming and going.
The playsets used and their cost add even more mystification to the game. A basic golf kit costs around Sh60,000 – the value of a good cow!
Add the rarity of such kits, you’ll never find them in Matatus!
The game’s colonial history away from the crowds adds to the mystery. Golfers themselves love mystery and perpetuate it, making them feel special. Add membership verification and the public will feel the game cult-like.
We should focus more on the economic part of the game.
The one-off prize money of €1.75 million (Shh 241.15 million) for the Magical Kenya Open is a drop in the bucket.
Top winners included Jorge Campillo (€321,247.982 or Sh40.86 million), Masahiro Kawamura (€207,866.34 or Sh28.5 million), Ryo Hisatsune (€106,767.71 or Sh14.64 million) , Santiago Tarrio (€106,767.71 or Sh13.58 million). ) and Mutahi Kibugu (€3,887.37 or Sh500,000).
Golf is a large industry involving equipment designers, dealers, coaches, caddies, golf carts, agronomy, advertising and marketing. It’s worth billions of shillings. In 2022, it was worth US$26 billion (Shh3.4 trillion) in the US.
What about Kenya? The country is strategically located to develop golf into an industry to rival athletics.
Being on either side of the equator means we can play golf 365 days a year with no winter breaks.
We can attract golfers from Asia, Europe and Africa – just a five hour flight away. The variety of golf courses is another attraction. How many golf courses have breathtaking views of the Rift Valley or the Indian Ocean?
Nanyuki’s scenic view of Mt Kenya is something else entirely, especially in the morning. Why are there no golf courses on tea plantations?
The next step is to make golf mainstream. One ingenious method I found in South Africa is short courses. I played golf on par 29!
We can learn from trading. We have mega centers, supermarkets, shops and kiosks. We can have large courses of 18 holes, 9 holes, 6 holes and even 3 holes and golf kiosks.
We can turn our 10 or 5 acres into mini courses and bring golf to the masses. Golf would be a great counterbalance to alcoholism and drugs, especially for young people.
Investing sparingly in golf would require a paradigm shift to see sport as an investment and a way of life. We can import English Premier League thinking.
Have you ever noticed the children accompanying the players onto the field? We need even less space for tennis courts, table tennis or volleyball. Why aren’t these games widely available? We still think games are for kids! One easy way to make games mainstream is to include them in the school curriculum. I had never heard of golf when I was in school. I’ve only heard before “nitakupiga Kama Golf.”
I thought golf was that little ball! I learned golf when I found it as a course unit at Kentucky State University and enrolled as an associate. We hope that the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) will help demystify gaming.
After all, why wasn’t there magic among the Kenyan players? Why was all the money taken from the visitors? We have not invested in this game. Why do we expect returns? Who ensures that our players only care about the game to focus on with a single goal?
How much notoriety do our golfers have beyond the Kenyan golf courses? Do you interact with golfers of different backgrounds and nationalities? We should prepare them early. How many of our children play the game and grow with it?
Tiger Woods came to the golf course at the age of three, I was 38! Can we start with children in primary and secondary schools next to the golf courses? Counties should open golf courses and provide incentives such as land to golf course developers.
They may not fill up today, but we have tomorrow and believe me this country is going to be prosperous.
We have everything to make Kenya a golf country, young men hungry for success, beautiful scenery and a geopolitical location.
We are missing the paradigm shift of seeing golf not as a cult, but as a money coin, as a contribution to the economy. It’s definitely time we put magic in our Golf.