The Kenya Golf Union, KGU, in partnership with The US Kids Golf foundation has commenced a countrywide rollout of a junior golf curriculum targeting to reach more than 2,000 children in the next three years.
KGU has already set up an operationalization committee under the Junior Golf Foundation, JGF, to “implement a uniformed and structured way of teaching golf in Kenya” as the Union nurtures local talent to win Kenya Open and participate in the 2028 Olympic games.
“Although we have an ongoing talent development programme, it has not really been possible to evaluate its success using known parameters. We have now agreed with US Kids golf on clear objectives and performance based structures and we shall be updating them regularly,” said Peter Kiguru, Chairman KGU.
Under the partnership, US Kids Golf has provided a curriculum that will be used by local coaches accredited to JGF programmes while at the same time provide a player pathway programme that will see outstanding players take part in local, regional and world competitions organized by US Kids Golf.
“Having a structured curriculum will be a game changer. Currently we have many children in the JGF programmes but we cannot effectively differentiate their talent levels. Our first task is to assess all the children and place them in the 10 different levels provided by the US Kids Golf curriculum then proceed to reach out to children who are yet to join our programmes,” said Kiguru.
The programme commenced two weeks ago with the certification of 48 local coaches after a three-day training while local chapter of the US Kids golf tournament is expected to be launched before the year ends.
“We are really going to be firm on who and how training of junior golfers should be carried out in this country. It is now mandatory for all coaches handling children between age 5-18 years in the JGF programmes to follow the US Kids Golf curriculum. We want a clear player development pathway that will see players ready to turn pro by the time they reach 16 years old,” he said.
KGU is lobbying the government to embrace the programme in order to tap talent in public schools. Two weeks ago, the team met Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed with a request to have golf gazetted as a subject through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
“This is a critical component for the long-term success of the programme. As soon as this is achieved, the government will provide a budget to train Physical Education, PE, Teachers and future coaches. It will also open the doors for the government to fund the purchase of golf equipment for the Public School Program,” said Kiguru.