Golf Course Review… Mombasa

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Fact File

Par – 72
Rating – 72
Length – 6084m

History

The course was designed by Tommy Fjastad, who is currently the golf course consultant for Leisure Lodge Golf Club. Fjastad was first approached by Dr. Wilhelm Meister, the founder of Leisure Lodge, in September of 1991, and asked if he could design and build an 18-hole championship golf course. Fjastad couldn’t resist the challenge, having just finished construction of the Windsor Golf & Country Club in Nairobi. The inauguration ceremony was held on 12 May 1998, with a baobab tree planted outside the clubhouse. The course’s first major competition – the Diani Beach Masters – was held in October 1998.

The Course

It’s been called ‘the most beautiful golf course in East Africa’, and the Leisure Lodge course is certainly worth the effort, if you’re travelling long distance. It’s in good condition and is said to be playable all year round, due to Leisure Lodge’s standard of care and maintenance. The course’s creation was one of the largest construction projects ever witnessed on Kenya’s south coast, with miles of coral overlaid with sand and topsoil, the installation of an intricate web of pop-up sprinklers, and tonnes of Tifgreen turf grass, Pennlinks bent grass, and other special grasses imported from the United States. The result is one of the enduring success stories of Kenyan golf – a series of miraculously lush, rolling fairways that weave through mango, cashew nut and casuarina groves, to immaculate greens that present their own challenges. Today, Leisure Lodge is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and challenging courses on Africa’s amateur circuit, with numerous tournaments staged here, including the Diani Beach Masters. The course features a number of appealing water features and a variety of engaging challenges, including 88 bunkers, a giant lake in an old quarry on the 15th hole, and a smaller lake teeming with aquatic life on the 18th. Further to that, the exotic fruit trees draw a steady procession of birds and monkeys. It’s a course that will appeal to players of both low and high handicaps. Along with the 18-hole course, there’s also full-size driving range, with putting and chipping greens, and a practice bunker. There’s also a well-stocked pro shop and full-service clubhouse, which has a range of facilities, including food, beverages, changing rooms, the Vilindi restaurant, a members bar and a sundowners bar.

Signature Hole

Leisure Lodge’s signature hole is the 15th hole. This hole is a par-3 across the Lake Wilhelm. The gold tee measures 152 metres, the white tee 139 metres, and the blue tee 115 metres, with a stroke index of 14. Apparently, the best way to play this hole is to know your distances, pick the appropriate club, consider the wind direction, and commit to the shot. Well, that sounds simple enough and could surely apply to just about every shot on the golf course! Regardless, if you are someone who doesn’t fancy hitting over water, you may just find yourself dumping a few balls in the water. But, if you’re not fazed by the challenge presented by the 15th, then you may well consider this one of the more attractive golf holes you’ve seen in a while.

Rates (18 holes)

Residents – $25
Non-residents – $42
Caddie – $6
Cart – $36
Club Hire – $17

Where Is It?

Leisure Lodge is located 32 kilometres south of Mombasa. From Mombasa airport, a transfer can be arranged to Leisure Lodge. This transfer can be arranged via the resort itself. Leisure Lodge is about five minutes’ drive from Ukunda airstrip, which is approximately four kilometres away.

Contact

Tel: +254 (0) 40 3203624, leisurelodgeresort.com

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