Our History

Mr. Berkley-Mathews was responsible for the design and construction of the course which was carved out of a wattle tree plantation in 1938. It was one of the few architecturally designed courses in Nairobi. The first nine-holes were constructed around an elephant' watering hole, which explains the elephant head logo you see today. Originally rows of wattle trees were left to separate the fairways. Later various shade and ornamental trees such as podo, cape chestnut, 'muringa', cypress and pine, were planted. Mr. Simpson of Liphook, Hampshire was the course architect who, after making only a few alterations to the initial construction, declared it a championship golf course.

As in all areas of the country, the Second World War years of 1939-1945 were a time of developmental stagnation for Sigona. But in the year immediately following the war, manpower and money were more readily available. The course greens were enlarged and experiments for choosing the best grass for the greens were started. The existing watering system was extended to eventually encompass all the greens and tees. Overseas professionals began visiting the course in the early 1950's.

The history of Sigona Golf Club took a sudden and dramatic turn with the dawning of the "Emergency". Mr. Berkley-Mathews was shot to death in the Clubhouse in 1954 by Mau Mau.

At independence, the so-called "White Highlands" area around Sigona was broken up in the settlement scheme for landless Kenyans. Due to the influence of the late Honourable James S. Gichuru, a friend of Sigona Golf Club, the course was prevented from being included in the settlement. He persuaded club members to form themselves into a limited liability company and to invite members of all races to join, thus saving the club and the golf course.

As a result, Sigona is said to be the first sports club to open its doors to persons other than those of pure European descent. Mr. Gichuru was later made an Honorary Life Member for his successful efforts. The first African to join the membership at Sigona was a gentleman by the name of James,"Jimmy", Kahugu who, at the time, was employed as a waiter at the Norfolk Hotel.

He later quit that job to serve as the Sigona Club's Assistant Manager before becoming a golf professional. The Japanese Ambassador became a member in the early 1960's after having been refused admission to other area clubs. This, in itself, became the major impetus for the large Japanese membership sigona enjoys today.

The Club underwent some serious financial problems in the early 1960's and faced threats of foreclosure from creditors. This necessitated the institution of a playing fee of Kshs.2.50 for each round of golf. Most other clubs in the area at the time had slot machines, which provided a regular source of income.

Many of Sigona's members left during this time to join other clubs who, in order to entice more members, had waived entrance fees. As a result, Sigona was forced to do the same, but only for a short period of time. A very large and successful 'harambee' effort kept the club from ruin. Successive harambees, coupled with increased membership, have led to the development of the Club and course as it is seen today.

Numerous changes took place on the course up to the mid-1970's, at which time the six par five's were reduced to four, shortening the length of the course by 112 yards and converting par from 74 to 72. Many of the holes were changed, with the most notable move being that of the old number nine par three.

It was a blind tee short to the green which sat up on a ridge. The ridge is the one now climbed to reach the Clubhouse after the ninth hole. So many players were getting such uncanny holes-in-one that the hole had to be changed to keep the caddies from moving the ball, undetected, into the hole with their shoeless feet!

Sand traps were never seriously considered until the early 1970's when revenue increased. Members had felt that traps were not necessary since errant shots were already being well punished by the wattle and other planted trees. With membership thriving in the early 1990's many course and clubhouse improvements were undertaken. The greens received a lot of attention and, at the time of writing Sigona boasts of possessing some of the best greens in Kenya.

The present-day clubhouse is an updated and enlarged version of the original structure belonging to Berkley-Mathews and dating back to the beginning of the golf course. The most dramatic renovation took place in 1991 when it was given a complete facelift, including the addition of a second storey. Members are able to relax and look out over the eighteenth hole from the verandas extending off the upstairs and ground floor lounges. Beautiful green fairways are the mainstay of Sigona Golf Club.

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P.O. Box 10-00902,

Nairobi,

E-mail: sigonagolf@yahoo.com

Telephone: (+254) 020-2020518/9

Mobile: 0722600325 , 0733780441