Golfers in the country love Uganda Golf Club for its proximity to the central business district, challenging topography and a vibrant membership which is the biggest in the country.
They also love Entebbe for its tight fairways, serenity and a recurrently flavoursome 19th hole that has continued to grow its numbers. The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa is Uganda’s first built course that is famed for smooth fairways, pleasantly fast greens and the most picturesque from holes 1 to 18.
Cue Mehta Golf Club in Lugazi.
Now a full 18-hole course, Mehta Golf course has attracted rave reviews from amateurs, artisans and professional golfers who have played it since its re-opening.
There are so many things to love about Mehta, attributes that make it up there with the very best courses in the country. The membership is small, which is typical of most upcountry courses, but there is everything else to admire there.
If you like difficulty, then you be at home at the par-70 course. You will struggle to find a hole you can classify as ‘easy’ at Mehta. There is simply no straightforward hole.
Hole 1 is a par 3 whose yardage is 193 but the green sits exceedingly so down the tee-box and, for a first timer, choosing the right club can be a nightmare. The risk of over-clubbing looms large. Hole 2, a par-4, is a blind shot to the fairway with out-of-bounds situated to the left and right of the fairway, and the green located deep down from the fairway.
The greens are some of the best in the country thanks to the expert services of Willis Musumba, a Kenyan, who has worked on Safari Tour courses like Muthaiga, Karen and Thika Greens. He has also added his touch at Amos Nzeyi’s Palm Valley Golf Club course.
“He is thorough at his job and is one of the best in the business,” said Deo Akope, one of Uganda’s top professionals.
Hole 3 is a 166-yard par-3 that requires you to pump your tee-shot over a pond that sits right behind the green. Hole 4 is a dog-leg left par-4 which calls for a straight shot to lay up and a perfectly timed second shot to a protected green that has a water hazard right before it.
Hole 5 is a 195-yard par-3 that crosses the valley and has a very elevated small, narrow green. Sitting on for one calls for an inch-perfect shot. The first par-5 is hole 6, an intimidating 582-yard hole that has a sharp left dog-leg and out-of-bounds staring in the face of long-hitters.
Brian Toolit, a Ugandan professional and solid striker of irons, played at Mehta Golf Club last Wednesday and drove his tee-shot out of bounds.
“This is a very, very challenging course but at the same time beautiful and world-class,” Toolit told The Observer.
“I have no doubt in my mind that sooner rather than later, this course will either be hosting the Uganda Open or a leg of the Safari Tour.”
Mehta, however, is not a course that would be friendly to the seniors. It requires top fitness levels to play all 18 holes given its length and the undulating terrain. You are either walking uphill or downhill and the hills and slopes are as steep as they are sharp when descending.
“Hole 15 is a mightily tough one because you are literally pumping your second shot up the hill to attack the green, you can even struggle for a stance,” Akope observed.
Yet no hole is more intimidating that 13, which is fittingly their stroke index 1. It is 220 yards, of which 100 are the valley and a green with bunkers above it and then out-of-bounds. Missing before the green can mean the ball rolling back into the valley, which would necessitate a tough chip from the rough to sit on.
By all accounts, it is a tough hole and one that sums up the revamped Mehta Course and why it will increasingly be a club that golfers from all over the country will want to play sooner rather than later.
Despite the humongous investment, Mehta management has maintained the green fees at Shs 15,000 during the week and a very attractive Shs 25,000 for the weekend rounds.
“The Mehta Course is simply top-quality,” noted Michael Muhangi, one of the fastest-rising amateurs. “I played it the other day and fell in love instantly.”
He won’t be the last one lavishing praise at the par-70 course.