Pastor Justus Madoya’s prayers were finally answered last week when he notched his maiden win in the local pro golf competition. Like the children of Israel’s 40 years trek in the desert, it has taken Madoya more than five years to reach the apex, a painstaking journey that has been wrought with faith, patience and self-belief.
And his moment of glory came in style- winning his first title on “home soil” in front of his adoring fans at the Great Rift Valley Lodge. “It was a very special moment. I just can’t express that feeling in words,” Madoya reminisces on the feat that saw him bag Kshs 150,000 after destroying a field of 52 local and foreign pros during the sixth leg of the Safari Tour.
It all started in 2003 when young Madoya took up golf in Naivasha at the age of 17. “My mother was employed at the Great Rift Valley Lodge so every time I visited her work place I got curious to know more about this strange game. After watching players closely a couple of times, I found it strange that they were struggling to hit the small ball! I developed this feeling that I could do it better,” Madoya recalls.
Sadly the game was way beyond his reach, thanks to the high cost of golf equipment and other associated costs. But this did not deter Madoya. He kept pestering his mother who eventually introduced him to the Golf Admin and Caddy Master. “This was no doubt the turning point in my life. When not in school, I was assigned the duties of collecting golf balls on the practice range and with it came the privilege of accessing the course on Mondays during Caddy competitions,” said Madoya. His breakthrough would come sooner than he expected when the Lady Captain decided to sponsor him fully.
Madoya enjoyed a stellar career in the amateur ranks breaking into the Kenya team in 2012 where he donned the national colours for three years. During this period he featured in several events including the East Africa Challenge and Zone Six contests in South Africa, Namibia and Uganda.
Since turning pro in 2016, Madoya has enjoyed little success in the paid ranks save for a rare victory in 2019 when he won the Entebbe Open. He said: “Honestly, things have not gone the way I thought. 2016 to 2018 was a very dark period as sponsors pulled out thus we had very few events. In 2020 my game was down as I was battling a strange health condition. Thank God, I have now recovered fully.”
Madoya will be hoping to build on last week’s win to clinch a spot in the Magical Kenya 2021 scheduled for Karen Country Club in March. To achieve this dream, he will have to be at his best in the remaining three rounds- Nyali, Muthaiga and Karen to earn one of the eight slots. He is currently placed ninth on the Order of Merit. “My dream is to play in the Kenya Open and perform well. This is the only way I can get an opportunity to play on the Sunshine Tour and also to get invitations to other international events,” said the 34 year old who is very optimistic about the future of professional golf in Kenya.
Form and consistency aside, Madoya will be banking on one weapon in his armory which is beyond his competitors- salvation. Having “seen the light” in 2009, Madoya is a staunch Christian currently serving as a Youth Pastor at the Repentance and Holiness church in Naivasha. Pastor Madoya’s daily routine involves waking up as early as 3 am for the morning glory devotion, a routine that has dovetailed perfectly with his golf schedule. “Indiscipline is the enemy of talent. Salvation has kept me away from a lot of mischief and temptations especially in the golf circles,” Madoya said.
As he continues his hunt for glory on the course, Pastor Madoya is also on a mission to “win more souls” among golfers. Now comfortably occupying the Promised Land, like the children of Israel, “the Man of God” will be hoping to make the occupation permanent.