Rwanda’s second golf course, Falcon Golf and Country Club, located on the banks of Lake Muhazi in Rwamagana District, was officially launched on Saturday with a one-day Pro-Am tournament.
Paul Uwitonze made history by winning the first ever tournament played on the new nine-hole course after returning with a score of 69 net. Karugu Karaya and Jules Mutesa finished second and third with scores of 73 net and 74 net, respectively, in the main group.
The inaugural tournament attracted close to 80 golfers, including ten professionals, among them three from Kenya, another three from Uganda and four Rwandans.
Unfortunately, some players, especially those in groups that teed off in the afternoon, did not finish their rounds due to a mixture of rain and darkness.
Group II was won by Peter Kimanga, who carded the day’s best score of 56 net, followed by Louis Kamanzi (69 net), while Samuel Thumbi was third with 70 net.
Amar Pal Sineh Shaw took first place in Group III with a score of 69 net, while Auke and Andrew Makaka finished second and third with 70 net and 71 net, respectively.
The ladies category was won by Claire Kayitesi with 70 net, Raptin de Silva took second place with a score of 71 net and Philip Sheetal finished third with 73 net.
The event was attended by, among others, the Governor of the Eastern Province Odette Uwamariya, who hailed Eagle on the Lake, the proprietors of Falcon Golf and Country Club, and promised to become a member.
She said, “I must thank Mr. Rutamu (partner and Managing Director of Falcon Properties Rwanda Ltd) for the idea of bringing golf closer to the people, and I don’t think I am wrong to say that this is a people’s course.”
The governor also pledged to include in the next provincial budget, the construction of a marrum road from the main road to the club, which is about 9km and extending electricity to the area.
Also present were members of the Rwandan golf fraternity, the Mayor of Rwamagana District, Nehemie Uwimana, and the visiting president of Uganda Golf Union, Amos Nzeyi.
Due to darkness, the professional competition did not end and, as a result, the ten players shared the winners’ cash prize money worthy US$5000 (about Rwf3.4m).
However, the local players, who were leading before darkness fell with 13 holes played and five still to play, were not happy with the decision to share the money instead of finishing the game the next day as the international rules stipulate.
“I am disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to finish the game, the rules are very clear, if the game doesn’t end because of rain or darkness, it has to be finished the next day,” Rwanda’s number two pro golfer, Emmanuel Ruterana said.
Among the other pros were Jean Baptiste Hakizimana, Ernest Ndayisenga, Olivier Munyaneza (Rwanda), Richard Ainely (Kenya), as well as Deo Akope and Dennis Anguyo (Uganda).
The launching ceremony was marked by lots of drinks, food and entertainment which were provided by local musicians including Miss Shanel and Koudou, formerly with local band The Brothers.
“Playing golf on water front is a dream for many golfers in the world. It is mesmerising and challenging. Rwanda has so many lakes where such golf courses could be built.”
“Falcon Golf and Country club provides a great opportunity to Rwandans and tourists to come and enjoy the game of golf at its best,” the chief host, Innocent Rutamu, a former chairman of Kigali Golf Club, said of the new course.
The event was sponsored by East Africa Granite Industries, Ernest and Young, Bralirwa, Skol Beer, Computer Point, Great Lakes Communication and Media Centre, Kigali Serena Hotel, Drop drinking water, Inyange Industries, Tigo, among others.
Falcon Golf and Country Club, built at a cost of Rwf850 million, is the second golf course in Rwanda after Kigali Golf Club in Nyarutarama.