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Golf In Kenya
One of Kenya's best-kept secrets is its numerous golf courses. Few places in the world offer such perfect ingredients for a fantastic golf holiday, as Kenya does. The opportunity to play your favourite game, to see wildlife (sometimes on the course!) and to relax on the beautiful white sandy beaches all during the same holiday is unique.
Soon after their arrival from the early 1900's British colonists began developing golf courses all over the country. They realised that Kenya had the year-round climate and the beautiful settings to construct some of the world's most desirable courses.
One of the most appealing features of golfing in Kenya is the variety. From the beach clubs set among palms and casuarinas with stunning views of the sapphire Indian ocean, to those dominated by the perennial snow-cap of Mt. Kenya, there is a medley of courses each vying for priority as the most attractive for location and interest. One is even built on the slopes of an extinct volcano!
Kenya has 36 golf courses of which 10 are 18-hole, 9 of which are used for championship events. 6 are within a 20-mile radius of Nairobi - Kenya's bustling capital. The oldest Golf Club (7021 yards - par 72 - 18 holes) founded in 1906, the latest the Windsor Golf and Country Club (6751 yards - par 72 - 18 holes) there are several new courses under construction and a number are being upgraded from 9 holes to 18 holes.
The weather in Kenya is ideal for golf all year round. On occasions you might need a sweater or a jersey, but will usually play in a polo shirt.
In the highland areas the temperatures are in the low 20's and at the coast in the high 20's or low 30's. There are 12 hours of day-light and, depending on the season, 4 to 9 hours of sunshine. During the two rainy seasons, (April and November) the rain usually falls before 10 am and after 5 p.m. and almost never when you are playing! More and more clubs are installing sophisticated fairway watering systems to keep to keep the course green during the dry seasons.
Many courses are at an altitude of more than 1500 metres (5000 ft) truly giving you an additional 10% yardage to your stroke.
Most clubs have a Pro-shop where you can buy whatever you need. Though there are no golf carts available, Kenya has the luxury of caddies. Usually the caddies are very good players themselves and will not only carry your bag and look for your ball in the rough, but advise on local rules, assist with your swing and generally be very quiet and especially during weekdays. One or two clubs do not permit visitors at weekends but most do, except on competition day.
Visitors to Kenya who want to play golf are best advised to use the services of one of the tour operators organising golf holidays. A few specialise only in golf safaris and give a highly personalised services, but many of the larger general tour operators now offer golf in their programmes.
For the visiting golfer, Kenya has a broad appeal. There is everything for the fanatic golfer, whilst the avid golfer can fashion his safari to include some wildlife viewing as well. A golfer who prefers to laze on the beach can still fit in a game or two and the business traveller, with an afternoon off, can easily play his favourite game right on his doorstep. Many city hotels have made some arrangements with local courses for temporary membership for their business visitors.
Kenya has it all and golf is no exception.
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