THE ROYAL NAIROBI GOLF COURSE
The Royal Nairobi Golf Club is the oldest golf society in Kenya, founded in 1906. The original 9-hole course with sand greens was expanded to a fully grassed 18 holes in the 1920s. Wild animals roamed the course in the early days and a marauding leopard was shot on the course in 1919. The Nairobi Club, as it was originally called, hosted the first East African Ladies’ championship in 1932 under the auspices of the Kenya Golf Union. Three years later, in Jubilee year, King George V granted the club royal title.
The club was originally established as a recreational amenity for officers in the King’s African Rifles, which preceded the Kenyan Army, and it was actually the third golf club founded in British East Africa (as Kenya was formerly called). It’s now the oldest remaining club because the other two – formed in 1902 and 1905 – no longer exist.
A third nine was added to the original course in 1954 and this circuit remained in use until 1971, when the land was sold back to the municipal authorities for housing development. A fairway irrigation system was installed the following year then all the greens were re-laid in 1984. Catering for the alternative sporting needs of its 1,500 members, the club now offers the use of a swimming pool, squash courts, running track and gymnasium.
Traditionally Royal Nairobi Golf Club was a colonial style golf course but over the years due to the modernization of the game and equipment, the course committee has made changes to adapt to the ever evolving nature of the game.
Today Royal Nairobi Golf Club possesses an 18 hole championship golf course, which totals to over 7200 yards from the back tees. It has a slope rating and a par of 72. The two nines, are relatively flat posing very different challenges given the fact that the course has different soil structures on both nines. The major defense of the golf course is its length and several water features that come into play which have been introduced over the past few years. The most significant of these is the introduction of a large dam between holes number 15 and 16 which in addition to making the holes tougher serve the purpose of augmenting the amount of water available for irrigation purposes.
The par 3s are generally very tough holes and in addition our finishing stretch of 16,17 and 18 makes for a worthy champion in any tournament.