It is surprising that not one Kenyan golf course features in Africa’s top ten.
Every year, publications and self-styled golf gurus release what is often a controversial list of the top golf courses around the world, in Africa and even in Kenya.
Golf course ranking follows certain known criteria, but more often than not, it is the opinion of ordinary golfers that counts. This public participation in golf course ranking often brings to question the eligibility of golf courses that are difficult to access. For example, Augusta National is literally impossible to play on as is the Leopard Creek Country Club next to the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
According to CNN.com, there are over 820 golf courses in Africa; about half of these are located in one country, South Africa. The other countries with a large number of golf courses include Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
According to CNN.com, Nigeria has about 48 golf courses while Zambia has 21 courses. Kenya has 38 established golf courses and another five or so under construction. It is, therefore, surprising that not one Kenyan golf course features in Africa’s Top Ten.
The Fancourt Links in George, South Africa tops the list. Fancourt is home to two other golf course, Montagu and Outeniqua and all three golf courses regularly feature on South Africa’s Top 20, such is the quality of the facility in George.
The Cascades at Soma Bay Egypt is second on the list; this par-72 6,991 yard course was designed by Gary Player and neighbours the Red Sea on five holes. The Heritage Golf Club in Mauritius is third and it enjoys magnificent views of the Indian Ocean.
The Le Touessrok, also in Mauritius occupies the fourth position. This course is not accessible by road, access is only via boat or helicopter. Fifth on the list is Mazagan Golf Club in Morocco; the course stretches along the beach and dunes of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Windhoek Golf and Country Club in Namibia checks in at number six and the Lemuria Golf Course in Seychelles is seventh. Until end 2013, Lemuria was the only 18-hole layout in Seychelles.
The Gary Player Golf Course in Sun City, South Africa, was ranked eighth by CNN.com, a rather unlikely position for what is considered one of the best golf courses in Africa. The Flamingo Golf Course in Tunisia comes ninth and in 10th place is the Leopard Rock Golf Resort in Zimbabwe (not to be confused with Leopard Creek in South Africa).
The Baobab Course in Vipingo would effortlessly fit in this Africa Top Ten rankings while Muthaiga, Windsor, Great Rift Valley, Sigona and Karen stand a good chance of making it into this Top Ten. But perhaps what we need is a ranking for the Africa Top Ten, excluding the 400 plus courses in South Africa!
That would give many of Kenya’s golf courses a fighting chance.