Karen Golf and country Club is located close to Karen Blixen’s house, which is now a museum dedicated to the late Danish author whose memoir, “Out of Africa” was her most famous work.
The Club has some unique features that distinguish it from other golfing clubs in Kenya. Flowering shrubs, lakes and wetlands, outstanding indigenous trees and many fine sporting amenities. As you approach the terrace from the outside the country lodge styled clubhouse, what captivates your gaze is a magnificent view of the elegant outstretched golf course with beautiful flowerbeds, lush fairways and manicured greens.
Host to the Kenya Open (a European Challenge Tour event) between 2004 and 2008, Karen Golf and country Club course is a testing layout that stretches out to almost 6,900 yards fro the tips with a par 71. Karen Golf Club is a true favourite for many golfers visiting Kenya and the comfortable Club house is a perfect place to relax after a thoroughly enjoyable round. In this issue Golf100 reviews this elegant, exclusive and excellent golf course.
The idea for a club at Karen was conceived in 1933. Baroness Karen Bon Blixen, on whose former coffee plantation it would eventually be situated, had realized, some two years or so before this date that it was becoming impossible to carry on with her Ngong coffee farm. A young banker, recipe Remy Martin, then arrived from England to arrange for the acquisition of her property, and its subsequent development into a residential suburb. The contract was signed on 1 April 1931.
Karen Estates Ltd was formed that same year, with the young Martin as Managing Director, to oversee the whole operation. Eventually, in 1933, after all sorts of delays owing to legal wrangles, the development programme of Karen could be seriously addressed, this whole project being the very raison d’être of Karen Country Club. Not only was the area, then, deemed to be part of Ngong, completely new and unknown to most, it was also regarded as being somewhat remote – in the rainy season it was essential for all vehicles to carry chains.
To attract potential buyers to Karen`s development, the provision of a golf course and club was considered essential – but not merely a golf course per se. The golf course would have to offer something special, not only to draw both new golfers and to see with allegiances already established with other Nairobi Clubs, but also to make the sometimes hazardous journey out there seem a worthwhile one. And, it did.
After due deliberation, one feature absolutely insisted upon was the provision of proper greens, as against “browns” – a notion virtually unique among Nairobi golf clubs at the time, and a tough one for a green keeper in the face of an extremely erratic water supply. This far sighted policy, however, contributed greatly to the early recognition of Karen Club as one of the top clubs in Kenya.
The Club with a par 71 course situated about 25 kilometers from the City Centre is a member of the Kenya Golf Union (K.G.U) and the Kenya Ladies Golf Union (K.L.G.U) and supports golf activities through its affiliations with these unions.
A short par four of about 424 yards and has four bunkers, one on the fairway and three around the green.
Is a par five about 527 yards from tee to green and slightly dogleg right. It has three bunkers; two bunkers surround the green while one is on the fairway.
This is a short par five of about 488 yards, but has a total of five bunkers. Four bunkers are surrounding the green and one is trickily placed on the fairway, about 150 yards to the green.
A par four of about 430 yards and also has five bunkers, two on the fairway and three around the green. Demanding accuracy as you approach the green.
A long par three, 230 yards long with three bunkers surrounding the green. A five iron or six iron is preferred on this hole.
A tricky par four, a stroke index one with a total of six bunkers, three on the fairway and three around the green. It is a straight hole, but against the wind with bushes on both the left and right of the course.
Par three of about 188 yards against the wind. It has three bunkers surrounding the green which is sloppy with two layers, making it very tricky depending on where the pin is positioned.
A par four with four bunkers one on the fairway and three around the green. There are bushes on the right all the way to the green with long trees on the left.
The ninth hole
Par four dogleg right with three bunkers around the green. There are trees on both the left and right from the tee to the green and the fairway is narrow.
Par four with five bunkers, two placed on the fairway and two surrounding the green. The hole has an Out of Bound on the right all the way to the green with tree on the left.
Another par four, 370 yards, with an Out of Bound on the right with bushes on the left. There is one bunker on the fairway and two around the green.
Is a short par four about 350 yards heading back to the club house. It has one bunker on the fairway and four around the green with an out of bound on the right from the tee to the green.
Another tricky par four of about 428 yards going against the wind. It has an out of bound on the left with a thick bush on the right side near the green. The hole also has two bunkers around the green.
Par three of about 137 yards against the wind. There is water on the left and another water hazard while approaching the green which has two bunkers surrounding it.
A par five of about 527 yards and it’s a dogleg right. It has a single bunker on the fairway and two around the green, with an out of bound on the right and a bush on the left.
This is a par three of about 234 yards and is against the wind. It has a single bunker on the fairway and two around the green with bushes both left and right.
It is a straight par four of about 480 yards. It has bushes on both left and right from the tee to the green with two bunkers around the green.
Is the longest Par 5 on the course, stretching 612 yards, it’s a dogled left with bushes on both left and right and an out of bound on the left. The hole has a single bunker on the fairway and two around the green.