The Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) has announced its plan to popularise golf in schools across Kenya in an effort to grow the sport among juniors in both primary and secondary schools.

The foundation says its ambitious initiative of seeking and nurturing golfers from a young age will see the football pitches in all target schools converted into golf ranges for golf training.

“For you to create a range, you just need a net, and kids can hit golf balls towards the net. The next development is chipping ; you can be able to chip on a football pitch and then you mow the lawn and it becomes a putting green. These are the three critical areas of golf,” said JGF President Regina Gachora.

Regina Gachora. PHOTO/JGF

Regina indicated that if the young players are nurtured from a tender age on football pitches, they can then be registered in any nearby golf course where they can then play quality golf.

Lyndon Darker. PHOTO/JGF

“95 per cent of our professionals are from caddie ranks. Where did they start playing? At football pitches and open fields. There is a lot of potential of golf from the grassroots, and the possibilities to develop future champions is there,” Regina opined.

Junior Golf Foundation now says it is now incorporating golf into the programme of schools in the country, including two non-handicap competitions and one handicapped in their calendar.

Simaloi Mbeya. PHOTO/JGF

“We will sample the schools’ competition in Nairobi and once we get it right, we will go into the regions and make sure that there are tournaments in every region every term,” she added.

She was speaking at the Karen Golf Club where JGF held the second tournament the US Kids Golf Nairobi Series 2023 with 150 junior golfers taking part in the half-day tournament.

Isaac Kariuki. PHOTO/JGF

The foundation intends to take the US Kids Golf Series to courses outside Nairobi and will start with Coast region with plans to move the next stage to Mt Kenya region followed by Central rift.

The players from the programme were volunteers at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open 2023 in Vipingo where they got a chance to interact with the pro golfers from a variety of countries.

Wanjiku Mathu. PHOTO/JGF

JGF is pushing for four slots allocated to Kenya go to 15 and 16-year-olds within the next two years to enable the junior golfers to boost their confidence and performance during the game.