Mombasa Iconic golf course under UNESCO list is undergoing major refurbishment in order to attract both local and international golfers and also boost sport tourism in the coast region.
Established in 1911, the 9-hole Mombasa Golf Course is one of the oldest golf courses in the country.
The golf course is located along the coastal line overlooking the Kilindini Channel connecting to the port of Mombasa, the 111 year-old golf course offers scenic views to golf lovers.
It is the only links course in Eastern and Central Africa.
Situated along the iconic Ksh 450 million Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, the site was in 1997 listed and gazetted among the top 100 historical value sites by the National Museums of Kenya.
The course has been undergoing a number of redevelopment projects over the years with the latest being the installation of an irrigation system to water the grass.
The club led by chairman Ken Mwangi launched the completed phase one of the Ksh 20 million project.
“We have been talking about the irrigation project for over the last 20 years, but today, we are happy we are actualizing it,” said Mwangi.
Mwangi said that the project began in 2020 during the corona period with raising money from club members and other well-wishers who agreed to help.
Phase one, he said, was to install the irrigation system with the second phase which was a bit more technical involving the installation of a desalination plant to convert the sea water into fresh water to water the course.
“When I took over with my board, we agreed with members that it was now time for action, we had talked about this project for many years and it was time to actualize it,” he said.
Paul Munyao, the club vice chair and also the chairperson of the project committee said that phase one which began October last year, involved the laying of pipes, digging of trenches and having the sprinklers installed.
“Phase one cost us in the region of Ksh 10 million spanning about a year. The second phase which is a bit technical will also take around another year to be done,” said Munyao.
Munyao said that due to the course’s strategic location along the sea, they opted to install a desalination plant to create fresh water from the sea water to be used to water the course.
“The sea water as it is saline and cannot be used to water the grass, we intend to use the reverse osmosis process to convert the water and use it to irrigate the grass,” he said.
Currently, the club is using rain water harvested in the 33 million liters capacity dam located in the the course.
This Munyao said was still a challenge since it doesn’t rain regularly in Mombasa.
He said that because they need to irrigate the course for two hours nonstop twice a day, they require a minimum of 45,000 liters of water for one round.
“With the desalination plant in place, we want to produce around 10,000 liters of water per hour so in a day say 60 to 90 thousand liters that will do for us” he said.
He added that with a greener golf course, they expect the number of tourists visiting the club to increase given that being gazetted as a national heritage site by the NMK already put them in the map as a tourist attraction site.
“We normally get tourists who come to our club house not just to dine, but also play golf and tour around, and with a scenic view, we hope to attract more people who want to host events like concerts,” Munyao said.
The works are being undertaken by the Turf Machinery and Irrigation Limited (TMI) who were given the contract.
The contractor and lead engineer Philip Ochola said that work began in 2016 with designing the whole irrigation system.
“This was up until last October when the works were officially launched. The first phase that was opened today involves opening the valves manually. But we are looking at the next phase, which is to automate the irrigation system which our golf course is moving towards,” said Ochola.
Ocholla, a golfer too, is currently the vice chair of the Kenya Golf Union (KGU).
Present during the ceremony include former chairmen and IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati who left the position in 2002.
Chebukati also served as captain, vice-captain, and secretary and committee member of the club.
Chebukati pledged to continue supporting the club as he called on the current regime to continue seeking the support of past chairmen in strengthening the club and supporting other projects.