On September 14, and on this very column, I opined that the Nairobi District Golf League has grown into a fine example of how a sports league should be conducted.
Through the last few years, the various golf club teams have branded themselves, secured various sponsorships for their teams and the comradeship between teams has grown by leaps and bounds.
I gave credit to the Limuru ‘Warriahs’ for being the first club to brand themselves as a friendly team, both home and away, paying some attention to winning but even more attention to having a good time and creating bonds.
Yassin Awale, a former captain and chairman at Limuru, is largely credited for heading the Limuru brand and other clubs were quick to follow. I also said that the growth and success of the Nairobi District League was something the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) should emulate in their efforts to improve the KGU Golfer-of-the-Year events.
But perhaps my September 14 article was premature because, in the last few days, golfers have been treated to boardroom intrigues with regards to exactly who the winner of the 2017 Nairobi District League is.
Defending champions, Kenya Railway Golf Club (KRGC) were in pole position to retain the crown with one game to go. This game, against Windsor, has become the subject of machinations, meetings and even the KGU executive has now weighed in.
From the research I conducted in September, the KRGC needed only 11 points from their final match to be declared winners. In March, the KRGC claimed to have sent the draw to Windsor, the latter claimed not to have received it. However, email trails in my possession cleared demonstrate that Windsor not only received the draw but also shared it internally.
The NDC then asked that the match be played on September 17, in direct contravention of their own rules; nevertheless, KRGC prepared for the match and Windsor, not surprisingly, failed to raise a team.
From what I gather, and in the last month or so, the Windsor captain sent an appeal not to the NDC but to the unified handicapping committee of the union. This committee includes our top golf referees, the likes of Vincent Wangombe, and they concluded that the NDC had erred in not following their own rules and conditions.
At the union, the secretary authored a long letter to both the KRGC and Windsor captains, issuing various verdicts, most of them vague at best, and concluding that each team be awarded zero points. The NDC appears to have now adopted this position.
Behind the scenes, the eventual beneficiaries of this result are Vet Lab Sports Club, who must now be declared winners of the 2017 league.
In conclusion, and from what I have gathered, the KRGC did everything according to the rules, sent in their draws and so on.
The NDC erred in their decision to ask for the match to be played outside the set timelines. How the unified handicapping committee (not sure why they were involved) and the KGU then arrived at a decision to deny KRGC a walkover is mysterious.
In future, any team not wishing to share points with a winning team is likely to pull the same move as Windsor, simply boycott the match, claim that your opponents have not sent emails etc and everyone gets zero points.
The events above sour the taste of the league, they tarnish the league and the game of golf and every golfer of goodwill must resist any attempts to introduce politics akin only to Kenyan football into the game of golf. The game is in danger, and the culprits are well known. The ethics and culture in golf will not allow them to savour this bitter victory in comfort.