Golf in Tanzania

When we arrived in Tanzania we decided to stay one day in Moshi before starting our hike up Kilimanjaro. We used the day to check out Moshi itself and then found out that the town actually has a golf course. The course is part of the Moshi Club, an old colonial-style club that was set up in the 1920’s. You can still feel the former atmosphere, but due to mismanagement the club had gone down the drain over the past couple of years. There are some tennis courts as well, but judging from how overgrown they are I think they have not been used for many years.

Because we did not bring our own set of golf clubs we had to rent them from the manager. In his office we saw that membership had decreased from about 150 paying members 3 years ago to just 43 members this year. Not enough to run a golf course, even in Tanzania. The club house was dilapidated and only served drinks and no food anymore. But the course itself was still quite nice, although some of the greens looked more like an average fairway, and the fairways at some place were more like the rough. And the rough was like a real jungle! Despite all this we played a nice round of golf. Because we did not expect to play golf on the slopes of Kilimanjaro we did not bring any golf clothes, and therefore we were wearing our hiking boots on the course. Nobody said anything of course.
We used one caddy, whose main function was to carry our clubs and look for our balls (even on the fairway you often could not locate them without searching). The caddy tried to give advice, but that was often counterproductive, so we sort of ignored him. And I was still carrying my laptop, the first (and probably last) time that I ever play a round of golf with a laptop in my backpack!

During our round several other people approached us with advice and some with golf balls. First we thought they wanted to give us the golf balls, but then it turned out they wanted USD 1 per used ball. A bit steep. We asked if we could keep them with us during our round and only pay if we would need them. But they did not like it, and they told us they were hungry so wanted to have the money now. A bit of a weird experience.
But there were more strange things: our caddy also hit a couple of balls every now and then (never seen that before), some guys were watching us from the green that we were aiming for (and were surprised to almost get a golf ball on their heads), it seemed the whole 9 holes had to be mowed with one hand mower (at least it was gas-powered, but it took 5 people 10 minutes just to start it – while we were putting on the green a few meters from the machine), and when we mentioned that we would need a taxi back to Moshi our caddy suddenly ran off to a road close by to charter a friend’s car!

It was a nice and relaxed afternoon though, but we certainly did not manage to play our handicap. And it was very cheap, we paid something like USD 30 for three people, a caddy and a set of clubs. Not bad for the only golf course with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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  1. Marc, nice to see those golfing pictures. Do you play in China as well?

    Regards, Jelmer de Jong.

  2. I don’t play much at the moment, it takes too much time to drive to a course and walk a round. If business gets a bit less hectic I plan to play a bit more though.

    Shanghai has some nice courses, and most are open to the public (with a steep green fee) but you need to call ahead for a tee time.

  3. Hi,
    Intersting to read your comments on golf in Moshi. I was born and grew up in MOshi as a norwegian 3 generation kid. Moshi golfclub was the golfclub in the 70s…
    Sad to see it fall to pieces like this! My father was the Captain there, and our family won many competitions there.
    Both Dar and Arusha have better clubs and course – try them next time .)

  4. Hi
    I was at the club this June 2008. Having been born ib Moshi this was the first time I had been back in 40 years. How sad and run down the place appears. I remember it as a teenager back in the 60’s when it was a great place. It was still great to be able to visit, sadly Kili was in cloud so I missed one of the best views in town.
    Mike Wells

  5. Good to hear and read your comments…is there a way to help the club? I live in Sweden and the club I play golf would NEVER be here if other good people contribute money… can we do the same with Moshi Club?