Everything to play for as Kenya Open Golf Championship gets lucrative


Dismas Indiza from Kenya comes from a bunker during the Barclays Kenya Open 2017 Golf Championships ...
Dismas Indiza from Kenya comes from a bunker during the Barclays Kenya Open 2017 Golf Championships at the Muthaiga Golf Club on March 25, 2017. Photo/Oliver Ananda/Sportpicha

The 2018 Kenya Open Golf Championship will have an increased total prize kitty of Euros 500,000 (Sh62.5million), representing a 127percent  increase from last year’s kitty of Euros 220,000, making the Kenya Open Golf Championship the most lucrative event on the European Challenge Tour calendar.

Making the announcement, the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) chairman, Peter Kanyago said that the increase followed a directive by  President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 2017 tournament, and is representative of the growth in stature of the event.

At the conclusion of the 2017 Barclays Kenya Open,  Kenyatta announced that his government would work together with the Kenya Open Golf Ltd, partners, and sponsors to raise the standard of the championship and by extension the standard of golf talent development in Kenya.

The President’s directive was aimed at two focus areas: The first was to raise the bar of the Championship, increase participation of local players and attract a higher calibre of players from across the globe. The second focus area is golf development from the junior ranks to the elite amateurs across the country.

(FILE)Sebastian Soderberg from Sweden lines a putt during day three of the Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championships at the Karen Golf and Country Club on March 19, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha
(FILE)Sebastian Soderberg from Sweden lines a putt during day three of the Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championships at the Karen Golf and Country Club on March 19, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

Following this directive, KOGL has reached out to, and held consultations with, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, the Ministry of Tourism, Nairobi City County, Kenya Tourism Board, Brand Kenya Board and Sports Kenya. KOGL is also having consultations with other sponsors that include Barclays Bank of Kenya, Kenya Breweries Ltd, Safaricom, Nation Media Group, Coca-Cola, among others.

“As a board, we have worked very hard to maintain the standards of this event for 50 years now, and I must thank the Kenya Golf Union, our sponsors, our host clubs, the volunteers and the golf fraternity for supporting this event tirelessly. As we celebrate 50 years, we are opening a new chapter in 2018 and beyond, and we will once more call on all these stakeholders to continue supporting us as we work together to deliver an even bigger championship for the benefit of golf in Kenya,”  Kanyago said.

Speaking at the same function, Sports Principal Secretary, Kirimi Kaberia said that the Government was committed to supporting the growth of golf in Kenya. “As the Ministry of Sports, we remain committed to support the Kenya Open Golf Championship and the various development programs of the Kenya Golf Union,” he said.

“We also commend the KGU and KOGL for hosting the Kenya Open for 50 years now. This is a great milestone that is built on the back of good governance and accountability,” he added.

Dismas Indiza in action during day three of the Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championships at the Karen Golf and Country Club on March 19, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/sSportpicha
(FILES)Dismas Indiza in action during day three of the Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championships at the Karen Golf and Country Club on March 19, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/sSportpicha.

Tourism Principal Secretary, Fatuma Hirsi, said that the Kenya Open Golf Championship has contributed immensely to the promotion of Kenya as a golf tourism destination adding that it continues to play a critical role in positioning Kenya as the preferred golf destination in the region.

“Kenya offers a unique golf tourism product; we have international standard golf courses and resorts, magnificent weather throughout the year and affordable green fees at our golf courses. The Kenya Open Golf Championship has played a huge role in showcasing this golf offering to the world and for that reason it remains an important event for the Ministry of Tourism, KTB and our country,” she said.

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