The Karen Country Club has been trending for the better part of Tuesday, 30th August, for its decision to open its doors to the public. Previously, only members affiliated to the Club could access the premises. If you are enjoying the Karen Country Club memes now trending on Twitter, you might want to know more about the facility; it’s origin, owner and offerings.
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Karen Country Club was the product of hard work by a young banker, Remi Martin (not the Cognac house). Remi had been tasked with acquiring land for development of a golf course in the former Coffee Estate in the area now known as Karen in the 1930s.
His research and survey efforts were fruitful, giving birth to what is now known as the Karen Country Club. The golf course at the club is maintained in fine condition, good enough to host annually the Kenyan Open on the European Challenge Tour.
Before deciding to go public, the Club required a number of qualifications for membership. For instance, people interested in becoming members of the Club would require a formal introduction by two members of the Club, who must have been members of the club for a minimum of two years. They were also required to be “Of good standing”, according to information available on the Country Club’s website.
The actual process of becoming a member however, was not an easy one. Once a potential member was “proposed” by existing member, they would need to submit a letter of introduction and CV to the membership office. They would then provide photographs, fill a proposal form and then wait for a decision to be made by the balloting committee tasked with approving or declining applications.
So how much would you spend to become a member at the club? Well, membership would cost you a pretty penny. According to information on the Karen Country Club website, membership fees for a single member was Ksh. 450,000 and Ksh. 800,000 for a couple.
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To access golfing facilities, you would need Ksh. 150,000 for a single person membership and Ksh. 300,000 for a double membership. Junior members between ages 18 and 25 would part with Ksh. 84,000 and Ksh. 75,000 as membership and golfing fees respectively.
All these fees for just golfing? Well, not exactly. The Country Club also has other amenities including a swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis court, squash play area, snooker, cycling and a world-class spa.
The facility also offers computerized fitness testing, personalized exercise programming, personal training, variety of fitness activities. Nutrition and weight management advisory services are also available, in addition to access to a contact physiotherapist.
In the recent past, the Club expanded into accommodation services with the development of The Residences; modern cottages and apartments that sit on the edge of the Club’s Golf Course.
The Residences initially offered accommodation to club members and their guests. Members from select elite country clubs around the world are also allowed to stay here, under a reciprocity arrangement. Recently, the club opened up The Residences to the public, thus venturing into the hospitality industry as a way to diversify and boost its earnings.
The decision to make the facility public has been attributed by changing trends of reduced membership and a young crop of golfers who might not necessarily be able to meet the membership fees. In line with this, the Club is also opening up its clubhouse and the golf course to non-members.
Non-members are now able to enjoy special rates on golf. Playing a 9 and 18 hole will cost the public Ksh. 2,500 and Ksh. 5,000.
However, to maintain the old exclusive feel for existing club members, there are days set aside for them only. The country club has also maintained some old rules in line with the preferences of the old members.