Officials quit as wrangles rock Junior Golf Foundation over US Kids Golf partnership

  • December 17, 2021
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Five board members of the Junior Golf Foundation have resigned protesting against “a perpetual state of confusion with lack of open communication, deliberation and accountability”.

In a terse letter to the Kenya Golf Union, KGU, and Kenya Ladies Golf Union, KLGU, the five- Nancy Ikinu, David Kihara, John Wachira, Ayaz Manji and Rosemary Mkok- are questioning how the US Kids Golf partnership was negotiated saying it was done by “some” board members while the majority were left in the darkness relegating them to “rubber stamping” authorities.

“Despite repeatedly raising our concerns on the governance and procedures followed by part of the Board in decision making-particularly around the recent US Kids Golf initiative – our concerns are not heard and our opinions as Board members are not taken with seriousness,” the letter states.

The bone of contention arises from the nature of the partnership which gives US Kids Golf exclusivity in the training of coaches for JGF programmes while at the same time allowing the Americans to supply kids training equipment.

“We are concerned with the direction some of the officials are taking, or rather the lack of harmonized strategic direction the Foundation is taking. Notwithstanding that, we have done our best to streamline and put together the undertaking of this initiative when we all know it was initiated without full involvement of the JGF, KGU and KLGU Boards,” they noted.

Speaking to T-OFF News Junior Golf Foundation, JGF, president Larry Ngala dismissed the claims by the disgruntled officials saying JGF followed the due process in closing the US Kids Golf deal. “We approached several renown organizations including the Nick Faldo Foundation but unfortunately they were non-responsive. So those allegations are baseless,” said Ngala.

A junior golfer in action- FILE PICTURE

He defended the move to source children playing equipment through US Kids Golf and dismissed allegations of conflict of interest on the part of some Board members saying the deal is above board. “US Kids Golf is a foundation whose primary objective is to encourage children to play golf in a well-structured manner. There’s no JGF Trustee who is a distributor of US Kids equipment,” he noted.

Another issue that has sown seeds of discord in the JGF board is the decision by the Foundation to set up a committee to implement the US Kids Golf partnership countrywide. The move rubbed the board members the wrong way with the members terming it rushed and “without having the deliberation for such with the properly constituted Board”.  Ngala posed: “In any case why did they support the idea until the last minute when were supposed to pick the committee to run the programme?”.

He disclosed that JGF which is currently operating with only three board members, has already commenced the process of replacing the departed officials and a fully constituted Board will be in place by next month. “We are currently very busy. We have managed to secure several corporate sponsors and our calendar is running very well,” he said.

The US Kids Golf partnership commenced in October this year with the training of close to 50 coaches ahead of a countrywide rollout of a junior golf curriculum targeting to reach more than 2,000 children in the next three years.

Under the partnership, US Kids Golf has provided a curriculum that will be used by local coaches accredited to JGF programmes, provide training equipment and  a player pathway programme that will see outstanding players take part in local, regional and world competitions organized by the US-based organization.  

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