This year’s Barclays Kenya Open Golf tees off at the Karen Golf Club in Nairobi 6 – 9 March 2014.
The tournament, which is part of the European Challenge Tour, will be taking place on the 72-par course for the second time in two years after the successful 2013 event.
Kenya will be represented by 25 professionals hoping to claim the 200,000 euro prize, but it’s not just the professionals who are in it for the long game.
Joining them on the green will be caddies from Glad’s House, a UK charity that works with Mombasa’s street children to help them build a brighter future.
The charity runs a programme to train street children as caddies, and this year six young people have met the grade to carry for the professionals in the Kenya Open.
Cliff Ferguson, founder of Glad’s House, said: “This tournament is the culmination of a lot of hard work from our caddies.
“We offer the means for these young people to pull themselves out of a life on the streets, and I never fail to be amazed by the hard work these young people put in to turn their lives around.
“Golf is an inspiring game, but it’s a marathon not a sprint in the same way that the road from the street to independence is a long and difficult one.”
To prepare for the tour, the caddies have been training for 12 months at the Vipingo Ridge Golf Resort near Mombasa. To help them prepare and better understand the game, the resort has begun staging monthly caddy competitions to boost confidence, moral and knowledge of golf.
This isn’t the first time that Glad’s House caddies have carried at a national event. In 2012 the charity supported two street-connected young people to carry for the European Tour.
One of the caddies taking part is Mercy. She said: “I started caddying at Vipingo resort in June 2013. I enjoy it as I meet so many nice people who encourage me and give me confidence.
“Life was very difficult on the streets, but now I’ve started a new life. I have goals, and I believe I can reach them. Golf has helped me change my life. I enjoy playing the game as well as carrying, because if you understand golf it is very different.
“One day I’d love to become a professional, but before that I want to be the best caddy I can be.”
Glad’s House www.gladshouse.com