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Five reasons why Team Muthaiga easily won the Tannahill Shield

  • August 10, 2021
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Team Muthaiga has quietly been strategizing on how to recapture the Tannahill Shield. It is a journey that has been crafted since 2017 when they last won the Shield. And the patience paid off last week when Team Muthaiga met little resistance in winning the title with a margin of nine points. Here are the five reasons behind the resounding victory:  

Rich Talent Pool

Team Muthaiga presented its top 10 golfers for the job at Royal Nairobi Golf Club. Interestingly, the highest handicap was Daniel Kiragu playing off handicap two while the lowest handicapper was Mutahi Kibugu playing +4. It is no secret that Muthaiga has a rich pool of single handicap players. In fact resident Pro Jeff Kubwa says it is a very difficult task picking the final 10 players “since so many of our members merit to be on the list”. Granted that Tannahill is played off scratch, the competition stood a remote chance of upstaging Team Muthaiga. It was not uncommon to see teams fielding players with handicaps as “high” as six.

M. Kibugu           +4

T.  Malik               +3

N. Kibugu            0

Bo Ciera               0

B. Chandaria       0

N.  Chandaria     0

J. Gitonga            0

A.  Irungu            1

K.  Nathwani      1

D.  Kiragu             2

Robust junior golf programmes

It was refreshing to note that junior golfers comprised 50% of Team Muthaiga. The club has invested heavily in junior golf programmes, a move that has seen Team Muthaiga have a steady talent pipeline.  Sixteen year old Njoroge Kibugu who was the youngest member of the team had a great outing humbling experienced players during the tournament. “We conduct a lot of junior golfers’ camps during school holidays. It is through these forums that we identify talent and encourage parents to invest in their golf development. We also organize a lot of junior golfers’ competitions to make them competition-ready,” said pro Kubwa.

Exposure

Despite fielding one of the youngest teams, Muthaiga had the most widely-travelled players in the competition. Majority of the players have either represented Kenya at junior or senior levels in international amateur competitions. Currently, three of Team Muthaiga junior players are based in South Africa where they are attending golf academies. Said Kubwa: “This early exposure for juniors is critical. Our young players now know how to control anxiety and are therefore very confident in all match situations. Actually most of our boys are more mature, match wise, than most experienced golfers.”

Continuity and long-term focus

Most of the players in Team Muthaiga have played in the Tannahill Shield on more than two occasions. In 2018 Muthaiga decided to build a fresh team largely made up of youngsters. As a result, they have not been in contention in the last three years. Armed with experience, the juniors are now brimming with confidence.  Granted that Team Muthaiga boasts the best record in the 97 year old tournament, it was worth taking the gamble. “I see our boys dominating this event in the next five years.  These boys are now mentally prepared and can handle the pressure that comes with mind games associated with the foursomes format,” pro Kubwa gloats.

Team Muthaiga receiving their award from the tournament sponsors

Intense preparation

Team Muthaiga selected its top 10 stars to do duty for the club 6 weeks before the tournament. They were then put under the tutelage of four local pros namely Nelson Mudanyi, Jeff Kubwa, Ganeev Giddie and Brian Njoroge. “To be honest we began preparing three years ago. Our biggest focus has been on building team chemistry since players have varying strengths so we must mix capabilities. During the final three weeks, the team played several matches against the teaching pros thus enhancing their competitiveness,” Kubwa disclosed.


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