The first ever R&A greenkeeping workshop in Africa was held over 3 and 4 November at the Sigona Golf Club, Nairobi. It attracted over 120 delegates from across Africa, with representatives from golf clubs in Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.“
Over 120 delegates from across Africa benefitted from the workshop
Theory sessions on turf management for golf courses were delivered by Derek Daly, Director of Education at the Silver Lakes Academy in South Africa. These were supported by practical demonstrations of machinery by technicians from Ransomes Jacobsen, Redexim and SISIS, which proved to be extremely popular.
Ewen Wilson, Export Sales Manager at SISIS, commented, “It was a great week with great people. Throughout my 32 years in the industry this has been one of the best events that we have been involved in.”
The workshop was organised by Wendy Cole, the R&A Greenkeeping Machinery Programme Co-ordinator, ably assisted in Kenya by Sunny Thethy, whose company supply the machinery for the programme. Steve Isaac, The R&A’s Director of Golf Course Management, hosted the workshop. As one of its main purposes was to expose East African greenkeepers to education opportunities, Dr Paul Miller from SRUC Elmwood was invited to talk about greenkeeper training options, both in Africa and through distance learning.
The workshop allowed The R&A to work with one of its greenkeeping scholarship providers, SRUC Elmwood, and two of its scholars, Derek Daly and Neville Wenhold (Superintendent at the Gary Player Country Club, South Africa). Neville could not attend the workshop as he is currently preparing the Gary Player course for the Nedbank Challenge, but he provided an excellent video showing the preparations for the tournament.
The visit to Kenya also provided Steve Isaac with the opportunity to present donations of greenkeeping machinery to Njoro, Kitale, Limuru, Kiambu and Railway Golf Clubs. Kibo Sports, who operate the dealership for Ransomes Jacobsen, Sisis and Redexim in East Africa, supply the machinery provided by The R&A’s programme. Their Director, Sunny Thethy, was keen to note that “Working with The R&A is always a pleasure, but with this workshop we have started something which will make a tremendous contribution not only to the condition of golf courses across the continent but also towards recognition of the role of greenkeepers.”
The Chairman of the Kenya Golf Union, Peter Warui, noted with great appreciation the support given by The R&A for golf development in Kenya and wider Africa. “The R&A has been a great friend of golf in Africa and we look forward to developing an even closer partnership with them to progress development of the sport and, in particular, greenkeeper training and education.”