26 junior golfers from the grassroots golf programme in Vipingo were yesterday coached by four Ladies European Tour players during a golf clinic organised by Safaricom’s M-Pesa as part of the preliminary events of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

The grassroots initiative, led by Vipingo Village Fund and both funded and hosted by Vipingo Ridge, is a youth golf academy that meets once a week to offer lessons by a PGA-accredited coach in the hope of finding and nurturing homegrown Kenyan talent. The children, both boys and girls, range in age but all come from local villages in the surrounding areas.

At the training, the budding golfers were divided into two groups. One of 20 (mixed boys and girls) and the other of six top girl players. The groups were taken through golf basics drills on chipping and putting on the practice green and bunker. The aim of the clinic was not only to coach the junior players but to inspire the next generation of Kenyan golfers as well as showcase how sport can provide the opportunity to lift people out of poverty.

The two groups were coached by four-time LET winner and champion of the Vipingo Ridge Ladies Invitational Pro-Am tournament in February, Linda Wessberg from Sweden, two-time LET winner, Meghan MacLaren, two-time LET winner, Felicity Johnson, and teenage prodigy from Nigeria, Georgia Oboh.

Linda, Georgia and Meghan took the players through the chipping drill while Felicity took the top team through their paces at the putting green.

Commenting on her experience while coaching the junior golfers, Georgia Oboh said:

“It was a great pleasure having the opportunity to share my knowledge with the young golfers today. Being from less privileged backgrounds, this gives them an opportunity to experience golf at the highest levels and also encourage them to believe that it is possible to rise to the level of professional golf despite their background.”

She added:

“I have seen many talented players today and the motivation among them is very high. I encouraged them to continue sharpening their skills in the game with the view of growing in the sport and enhancing their chances of being part of professional golf in the future.”

Commenting on the event, Vipingo Ridge Chairman, Alastair Cavenagh, said:

“We are delighted to have hosted the golf clinic today in partnership with M-Pesa as part of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open activities. It gives the young prospective golfers from rural areas on the coast a fantastic chance to learn from the professionals and works to inspire them, not just in their sporting endeavours, but I hope in all aspects in life.”

He added:

“It was an important opportunity for us to welcome these young golfers to experience the tournament’s offerings as part of our long-term plan to continue working with the community to nurture and grow talent, especially among our youth.”

The golf clinic followed the prize-giving for the Magical Kenya Ladies Open Pro-Am, which attracted an impressive field of 120 golfers setting the stage for the opening of the main tournament today.

The Magical Kenya Ladies Open is sponsored by Magical Kenya, M-Pesa, Capital FM, KCB, Aquamist, East African Breweries, Turkish Airlines, Vipingo Development, KPA and Wilken.