Introduction – About Kenya Golf Union
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 converged by the late Mr. A. C. Tannahill and held at Nairobi Golf Club [now Royal Nairobi Golf Club] on 7th July, 1923. There were thirteen representatives present from golf clubs in Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. The late Major J. D. Leonard took the Chair and the late Mr. A. C. Tannarhill acted as Honorary Secretary.
A formation committee was appointed and included in addition to the two names mentioned, Mr. W. T. Shapley and Mr. F. S. Dunn. It was finally decided to name the Union “The Golf Union of East Africa” and it is from this original venture that the present Kenya Golf Union owes its origin.
There are no records between 1924 and 1928, but by the latter year it is obvious that the Golf Union of East Africa had ceased to function on an East African basis and at a meeting of the Golf Captains who had taken part in the Nairobi Golf Club Easter Tournament, and held on 29th December 1928, the Kenya Golf Union was inaugurated. The first member clubs were Eldoret, Gilgil, Kiambu, Kitale, Nairobi and Muthaiga, a total of six.
The membership of the Union today consists of 37 clubs and two societies. A question often asked by golfers who are perhaps comparatively new recruits to the game is “What is the Kenya Golf Union and what does it do?” The answer to that question is very brief, the Kenya Golf Union is the banding together of golf clubs in Kenya in a Union, in order to control their own affairs and to promote the interests of the game of golf. In other words, the Union is in effect the Golf Clubs.
The original objects of the Union as stated in the first constitution were:-
a) To promote the interest of golf in the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya;
b) To control the Amateur Golf Championship of Kenya
c) To give approval and recognition to suitable Golfing Societies originating in the Colony.
KGU was set up in 1928 to act as the national representative of all golfing clubs in Kenya.
The KGU’s tasks include promotion of the game and maintaining the international standards of the game in the country.
Other duties range from:
- Maintaining a uniform men’s handicapping system,
- Control, management and organisation of the Kenya Open Golf Championship, the Kenya Men’s Amateur Championships and the open Kenyan events,
- Maintaining and upholding the Rules of Golf and acting as arbitrator in disputes regarding rules and their interpretations.
A detailed list of responsibilities and a brief history of the Union is also available. An annual general meeting of the Kenya Golf Union is held each year in May. The main duties at this meeting is to elect the Chairman and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is then responsible for the work of the Union subject to the General Council.
When any matter of importance arises it is discussed and decided at the General Council Meeting at which each member club is entitled to be represented and vote. The day-to-day problems which arise are entrusted to the Executive Committee, but all decisions of this Committee are subject to review by the General Council. Since its formation, however, the work of the Union has grown to such an extent that it has become necessary to form permanent sub-committees working within the Executive Committee to deal separately with such matters as rules (interpretation and approval of local rules) on
Junior Golf Activities and The Kenya Open Championship.
The Union does not interfere with the domestic affairs of clubs, all it is concerned with is the organisation of the game as a whole, the arranging of certain events and tours by visiting teams and giving advice to clubs when asked.
One of its most important function is the maintaining of a uniform system of handicapping in line with that adopted in other parts of the world. The Union also produces each year a golfing calender giving the dates of all open competitions and events played under the aegis of the Union. This is necessary to avoid fixture clashing and to ensure each club is allotted a fair share of the open events approved.