This week, Kenya’s best golf course, the Baobab Course at Vipingo Ridge, was recognised as a PGA Golf Course – a first in Africa. The PGA head of property and development, Guy Moran, said that the course had now joined a league of PGA-branded golf facilities.
But exactly what does this recognition or branding mean?
Will it be more expensive to play at Vipingo? Will the fairways be firmer and the Par-4s longer? Just what does it take to be recognised as a PGA branded golf facility? And why isn’t Kenya’s self-proclaimed ‘home of golf’, Muthaiga Golf Club, not recognised? Have they applied?
According to the PGA website (www.pga.info), the PGA is “responsible for advancing the game and the industry, while ensuring that participation upholds the protocols, values and integrity of the game.”
The association includes 7,500 members who perform more than 50 golf-related roles in over 70 countries worldwide. These roles include coaching, golf architecture, retailing and golf club management. In other words, the PGA brand stands for more than a pristine golf course; it stands for golf development across the value chain.
For Vipingo, this branding allows the facility to tap into the global network for PGA partners and suppliers. It also allows the facility to seek assistance and benchmark its golf and business operations against the best of breed in the PGA network.
Vipingo also joins an exclusive list of facilities with the option of hosting PGA tournaments. And perhaps most importantly, Vipingo will now be able to market homes and plots using the PGA International Resort brand. Not bad.
This recognition is also a shot in the arm for the Kenya’s golf tourism industry; millions of golf tourists will immediately recognise what the PGA brand means and hopefully choose Vipingo and Kenya more often as they plan their golf excursions.
For the golfer, the PGA brand guarantees a certain quality of golf experience on and off the golf course. The recognition at Vipingo will also be extended to a golf academy that will be run by PGA coaches, bringing to Kenya, first-class teaching methods and coaches.
In short, this recognition could mark a new phase in Kenya’s golfing scene, not just Vipingo’s; this could very well be the biggest thing in the Kenyan golf scene since the eradication of ‘browns’ at the Machakos Golf Club!
With this recognition, Vipingo will now officially become the thought-leader in golf matters in Kenya and across Africa on golf course management, resort management and instruction.
And before your local committee goes off to apply to the PGA, you may want to note that the PGA offer geographical exclusivity, for both the golf course and teaching academies, to ensure that their members are able to fully enjoy and exploit their status.
Well done Vipingo!