When Paresh Jai was asked to help design the new Vetlab golf course it did not occur to him that the project would give him a new perception of the game. Three years later Paresh has embarked on a mission to literally create a golf empire! The man’s view and approach to the game has been completely revolutionized.
Today, the former contractor eats, thinks, lives and sleeps golf! Paresh has now founded a company, Total Golf Solutions, through which he has a vision of revamping infrastructure, fitness and training of golf in Kenya. “Working on the Vetlab course was a real eye opener for me. Interestingly, I had never worked on such a project throughout my life in the construction industry. I thought of taking golf to the next level by looking at the whole picture from teaching to infrastructure management,” Paresh opens up.
Buoyed by the successful completion of the Vetlab project, Paresh’s attention quickly shifted to the upcoming golf estate developments. Says Paresh: “We have seen numerous private golf estates coming up lately countrywide. Whereas this is a noble idea, how are these facilities going to be managed? Do we have the capacity to look after these courses professionally?”
Driven by these thoughts, Paresh embarked on convincing his children who were studying abroad to enroll for studies in golf. Today Total Golf Solutions is anchored on three pillars; Paresh and his two children Anokh and Phera. Paresh looks after infrastructure and his brief encompasses course design and management while Anokh has specialized in teaching. Phera takes care of the health and fitness aspects of the game.
Now that his children have all successfully completed their studies, Paresh has embarked on operationalizing the idea he conceptualized in 2008. Total Golf Solutions has now gotten down to business reaching out to customers countrywide. So what is Total Golf Solutions unique selling point?
“I want people to play better golf, injury free. Once we successfully create awareness on the importance approaching golf as a formal sport, the battle will be half won,” he says.
To realize his dream, Paresh has already spend more than Kshs 17 million, the bulk of the investment having gone into ensuring his children attained international certification. Total Golf Solutions has also invested heavily in analysis and training equipment.
The entry of Total Golf solutions into the market has been cautious though calculated. Paresh has chosen not to affiliate with any specific clubs choosing to focus more on the lucrative juniors segment. “We are here for all golfers. We are working with everybody i.e. low and high handicappers. So far within a period of three months, we have reports of our clients dropping their handicaps by an average of four shots!
Admittedly, market penetration has been slow. But this only serves to challenge the trio. “Golf is moving at a rapid rate. There’s increased uptake of the sport and playing levels are really improving. Unfortunately a lot of individuals don’t know what their body’s physical limitation is. It is important for players to know what their body is capable of and adjust their swings accordingly. Sadly most of the golfers’ today experience back and elbow pains,” observes Phera, a certified health fitness specialist.
While infrastructure development and health fitness are obvious aspects of the game that need to be reviewed, the decision of Total Golf Solutions to introduce a new way of certifying teaching professionals has sent tongues wagging in the sport. Certification has traditionally been done by the Professional Golfers of Kenya, PGK, and it is largely a reserve for professionals. Now, Total Golf Solutions is introducing a parallel initiative that will see amateurs undergo a three year training to acquire full membership to the Kenya Golf Teachers Federation, KGTF.
“Evolution of golf in the US exploded in the 1990s. It is only now that we are witnessing this in Kenya hence the importance of structured teaching. New technologies and methodologies are coming out daily. A golf teacher must keep abreast of these developments,” advices Anokh, a certified member of the US Golf Teachers Federation.
Undeterred by the limited operating space (Paresh currently operates from his office space in Parklands), Total Golf Solutions has set its sight on transforming into a fully-fledged golf academy, the first of its kind in the region. “Except for venue and infrastructure limitations we are basically an academy. We would like to be all over the country eventually. We are starting here, build a solid base then expand to other parts of Kenya,” Paresh concludes.