Vipingo Ridge places Kenya on coveted golf map
This weekend allow me to take you back in time; and to the weekend golf extravaganza that was the Grand Finale of the Safaricom Business Golf Challenge.
Two things linger from that event; the first, that Vipingo Ridge is setting new highs in golf course development in Kenya; the second that Safaricom continue to be the best firm in unleashing golf parties, at least for amateur golfers.
The Vipingo Ridge’s Baobab Course has come of age, the golf course is mature, the winds unforgiving, the greens fast and true, the fairways immaculately manicured, the club house stunning; this is Kenya’s, indeed East Africa’s and perhaps Africa’s, best golf course.
The natural contours of the land on which the golf course was designed, the availability of water, the deep soils, and the design skills of David Jones coupled with the deep pockets of the investors (all of $7.5 million and counting) all contributed to the masterpiece that Vipingo now is.
And with nearly 38 standing homes at Vipingo and another 44 ongoing golf home constructions, Vipingo will soon rival the top golf resorts in South Africa, both in the quality of golf and in the standard of golf course living.
In their 2010/2011 ranking of the South Africa’s Top 100 golf course, the Golf Digest magazine lists the Fancourt Links as the top course, followed by Leopard Creek, Pearl Valley, the Gary Player Country Club, Arabella, Blair Atholl (a new course in Johannesburg), Fancourt Montagu, the Royal Johannesburg and Kensignton (East course), Durban Country Club and the St. Francis Links as the Top 10 golf courses in South Africa.
Incidentally, of these, five are designed by the great golfing legend, Gary Player, including the two Fancourt entries.
Peter Matkovich, who re-designed Muthaiga, was responsible at Arabella. Having played seven of these 10 golf courses, I would rate the Baobab Course at Vipingo right at the top of this list, rating it higher than the Links at Fancourt where Peter Njonjo from Coca-Cola and myself lost more than 30 golf balls over the course of 18-holes of golf and the Gary Player CC in Sun City, the course that hosts the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Speaking of challenges, the Safaricom Business Golf Challenge lived up to all the hype; this was indeed, the golf day of the year, a fitting finale to what was probably the top golf series of the 2011/2012 season.
The qualifiers, all 36 of them, were treated like loyalty, complete with personalised shirts and golf balls; the golf give gifts unique and befitting of the golf finale.
Royal Nairobi’s Jay Sandhu was the winner on the day, after a gallant 33-points at Vipingo, a good score given the light drizzle, strong winds and fast greens; but every Safaricom guest left Vipingo a winner, laden with gifts and a golf experience to remember, at least until the next time.
In Sylvi Mulinge’s word, Safaricom Business is excellence at all touch points.
The Grand Finale of the Safaricom Business Golf Challenge will definitely open up the possibility of other huge golf events at Vipingo Ridge, and you can expect a lot of the CEO’s who were invited by Safaricom to have taken note — whether they can match the organisational skills of Safaricom is another matter.
So, the long rains are here, the dams at the Karen Country Club are full to the brim (let me hear Amen to that) and the rough in all golf clubs is not to be flirted with — keep your golf balls on the fairway.