The Eye Magazine Rwanda & Burundi’s Ngabire Emmanuel recently sat down for a chat with Bujumbura Golf Club President, Mr. Ken Lukongodo. We asked him about the recently concluded and highly acclaimed Burundi Open, about his plans for the club and what golf tourists can expect from Bujumbura Golf Club.
Q: You recently hosted a highly successful golf event-The Burundi Open. Congratulations!
A: Thank you. It was simply overwhelming!
Q. The Open managed to attract many pro golfers from all over East Africa; it was widely covered in most of the top media outlets in the region. Were you surprised by the event’s success?
- I would say yes and no. In a way the Open’s success was inevitable given that we had a really good team that worked so hard to make sure everything was on point. In special way I want to thank my Captain and the rest of the committee that helped with organisation, as well as the other members of the club. I also must mention our other partners: first, the government of Burundi , our main sponsors, Heineken and Interbank, Roca golf Hotel, as well as our other co-sponsors, all of whom came together to make the event a success.
Q. Such high profile events are sure to attract attention from Golfers and golf lovers around the world….
- I hope so! Bujumbura Golf Club is open to all golfers from around the world. I invite them to drop in and play some golf on our excellent course.
Q. So, who is welcome?
- First of all I would like to encourage all golf lovers to join the club. You can pass by and get details on how to join. We also welcome any golfer who can prove that he/she is a member of another Golf Club anywhere in the world is welcome. Moreover, golfers from reciprocating clubs are treated as members. They don’t pay green fees. Also, anybody-even a non-golfer- who has been invited by a member of the Golf Club is welcome to the club as a guest.
Q. Where do most of your ‘golf tourists’ tend to come from?
- They are mostly Rwandans, especially around their holidays which tend to coincide with those of Burundi. We also have partners like Roca Golf Hotel and Village Hotel who have an arrangement with the club that allows playing guests of theirs to access the course. For instance, Roca Golf Hotel pays full membership for three virtual members to the club, and so any playing guests of theirs can take advantage of that. In the case of Village hotel, a playing guest simply presents a chit from the hotel at the club, and they are allowed to play.
Most of the other playing visitors we have are from the region.
Q. You are now a few months into your tenure as President. What can we expect in the coming year?
A. We have a number of plans, some ongoing, others for the future. Already, we have an arrangement with Roca Golf Hotel that will ensure that we can play golf all year round. Roca did a matching grant with us to irrigate not just the greens but the fairways as well. Thus we shall not have to close the course in the dry season like we used to.
We also plan to partner with some sponsors to cover the part of the course that is marshland. Finally, we want to build a wall around the entire entente sportive. Then we can let the walls out for advertising billboards. That will bring in some extra revenue to the club.
Bujumbura Golf Club is going places!