Last week I was in Eldoret, courtesy of Barclays Bank of Kenya, and I had the pleasure of playing golf at the magnificent Eldoret Golf Club, a wonderful 9-hole layout just outside this agricultural town in Uasin Gishu County. It had been a while since I had visited Eldoret and I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the course, the new water features and the clubhouse atmosphere.
Major characteristics of the course at Eldoret include the ever present River Sosiani that snakes its way across almost all holes; from the opening hole where it lines the right hand side of the fairway to the third, the long par-4, where the river guards the front of the green, giving little room for wayward approach shots into this green.
On the fourth hole, River Sosiani cuts through at the dogleg and now the club management has added a small dam behind the fourth green which feeds a stream that will gobble your new Titleist golf balls to the left of the fairway. This new stream, which connects back to the river just short of the fifth hole has added much needed character between the fourth and fifth holes.
The par-3 fifth is a demanding 200-yard hole on the front nine and a drivable but treacherous par-4 on the back nine – both shots demand a 180 to 200 yard carry over the river to a two-level green guarded by bunkers to both sides. A new dam has also been added to the left of the 6th hole, about 240-yards from the tee and that is the last water feature on the course. The 7th, 8th and 9th holes are devoid of water features, but the mature trees to either side of the fairways make these holes formidable.
While the greens at Eldoret are not bent grass greens and neither are they lightning fast, they are pleasant to putt on and easy on the eye.
According to the chairman of the club, Andrew Chelgoi, the club is consulting to change the putting surface.
“We have been in talks with various green experts and are considering options for our greens going forward,” he said. “At the moment, the greens putt well and the green-keeper and captain have done an excellent job.”
At the clubhouse, everyone knows everyone, its a small friendly and warm community. Tea is served in a thermos flask, at least for chairman Chelgoi (plus cookies) and the barbeque is excellent. (Too much to eat in the evening).
The prize giving ceremony is a lively event, with many interjections from members and almost the entire club committee attends to support the sponsors and cheer the winners.
By the way, chairman Chelgoi posted 5-birdies and a lone bogey for a gross score of 4-under gross and 45 stableford points to win the inaugural Barclays Bank Road to the Kenya Open 2018 event.
I played with Chelgoi and had a front row seat to this great performance. Great golf on a good golf course and in great weather.
So if you find yourself in Eldoret, visit and play, it is worth it.