Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kinyara: The sweetest course in Uganda

A beautiful place set amongst the cane, Kinyara is an extremely difficult course. The greens here are tiny, probably the smallest I have ever played on, and in dire need of a roller/cutter (as is the case with all the greens in UG, except the UGC in Kampala). O.B. is a danger on many holes as well. The first 2 holes are wide open, but the next 7 are set in a spectacular, undulating, plantation of trees.

The facilities are the nicest feature of this club, gym, perfectly clean swimming pool, huge verandah, BBQ pit, bar, pool table, darts, bar, tennis courts, poolside bandas, etc.

It's very much a "country club", subsidized by the Kinyara Sugar Works (as it's also the Senior Staff Club for the company).

The course design was done by Eric Anderson, also the designer of the Lugazi course.

In addition, this club is perhaps the most hospitable in Uganda, proud of what they have built and keen to show it off. Green fees are a minimal 2k per round, with 2k for the caddies (plus a soda). Membership is 60k per year, (much cheaper if you live and work there). If you want to play, arrange this before hand with the Club Captain, Mr. Duncan Were. The recent sale of the club to a group of Indians may bring cost cutting measures to the Senior Staff Club, but if they want to keep up with Mehta (Lugazi), they need to keep things as they are. They have a youth program, whereby the caddies become members when they reach adulthood. IIRC, they also have clubs from the R& A for the kids.

The long straight rows of planted gum trees provide a world of hurt, but to be fair, the fairways are quite generous, but from some of the tee boxes, the trees are intimidating. I hit the ball very well here, but couldn't figure out the lush greens. lots of bump n run here, as the greens are hard under the new growth, despite it being fairly wet.

The signature hole here is #7, a very short par 3 over a swamp (smelly sewer drains into it). It's just a wedge for me, but the swamp and a long bunker with a steep lip is visually intimidating off the tee.

On the whole, people here are better dressed, healthier looking and seemingly better off than the staff at Lugazi (I'll be buying Kinyara sugar from now on), and they all ride bicycles to and from work, in this, it reminded me of Holland! Club members were quite unfazed when I pointed out this huge fire, a controlled burn of the cane:

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