The new holes on the course include No.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13
Golfing enthusiasts in Uganda and from around the East African region will next year welcome another 18-hole golf course-the Mehta Golf Course that is currently being transformed from a 9-hole facility.
On the outskirts of Lugazi town lies the beautiful, lush-green, and picturesque course in the vicinity of the Sugar Corporation of Uganda sugarcane plantation and factory.
The championship course in the making is designed by David Hemstock of Hemstock Design, a member of the European Institute of Golf Architects. Imported Tif Dwarf, Bermuda grass from the US has been used on the new greens and will eventually be spread out even to the old ones, whose size will also be increased.
Extension work for the extra nine holes that started in 2016 will end in the first week of January 2021 when the new course will be unveiled.
N.J. Paul the golf captain Mehta Club believes the expansion of the course will help the country add to the number of 18-hole championship courses, enabling the golfers to have better tournament preparations. He also believes the new course will promote tourism.
"Our chairman M.N. Mehta through the Mehta Golf Course and the Mehta Golf Academy is committed to the development of golf in the country and is continuing to promote the game by sponsoring and giving free coaching to young players who will be the future golfers for our country," Paul stated.
He said irrigation works for the course will start soon. On completion, Mehta will join five 18-hole courses at the Uganda Golf Club, Entebbe, Kilembe, Garuga, and the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort.
The club's resident professional Ronnie Bukenya said the new course has been designed very well with bigger and challenging greens.
"The old course had two par 5's but we now have five. We also have 7 challenging par 3's which are over 200 yards each. So the course now has seven par-3's, 6 par-4's and five par 5's; we shall now comfortably be able to host any major," Bukenya noted.
"The former hole No.4 is now No. 13 and is well designed with a water hazard before; and the course is now a standard par-71 course which can host any tournament."
He said the designers are coming back in December to make the final touches.
The seventh tee ‘Tiger tee' on the new redesign stands at the highest point with expansive views of the entire course and part of the Sugarcane plantations.
Bukenya says golfers will have to adjust to the new conditions, from the clubs they formerly used on the old course because the yardage is now longer. They will also encounter new challenges like bigger and faster greens.
"So they will have to be patient and also take time to read the greens because the grass on the greens is also different, so the putting will have to change. There are so many ups and downs, curves and bends so they have to be very careful," Bukenya noted.
The new holes on the course include No.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13. The 18 tee box and green also changed and is now 215 yards long. The 16th green will also change. The most challenging holes according to Bukenya are the par-5 holes No.3, 6, 13, 16, and 18.
The nature lovers and non-golfers will not only enjoy the beautiful landscaping on the course but also the nature walkways designed by Mrs Mehta, and the cool breeze from the surroundings.
The Mehta Golf Club has made a tremendous contribution to the Uganda Junior Golf Development. Junior players like Ibrahim Aliga, Godfrey Nsubuga, Edrine Okong, and Joel Basalaine have made it to the national junior team.
Okong and Basalaine whose travel to the US was facilitated by Mehta have since won themselves partial golf scholarships at the Livingstone College in the US with the former now on full sponsorship at Howard University.
The club has also produced lady golfers like Joan Nampewo, Winnie Mutonyi, Mercy Ssebagale among others.
Professional golfer Bukenya offers free golf lessons to children aged 3 years onwards under the Mehta Golf Academy that provides all equipment needed for them to learn and excel in the game.