Golfing in Ouagadougou?!

I recently had the chance to check out Burkina Faso’s one and only golf course – Golf Club Ouagadougou. It was of course a bit different than the golf experience back home, but that’s what made it so much fun. Here are a few observations:

  • Every shot is hit off of a small mat that your (obligatory) caddy carries around.
  • Golf is a lot easier with every shot off a perfect lie (no rough either).
  • Ditto without big trees or elevation changes.
  • Having a caddies and ball spotters is quite handy (no lost balls).
  • Shots get quite a bit of roll on the hardpan.
  • The ‘greens’, made of sand and oil, are really tricky (and slow). Thankfully there’s a nice margin for error with a generous downward sloped area around the cup.
  • Nice to have a ‘green wiper’ guy who smooths the green’s sand before your putt.
  • The driving range wasn’t that much worse than a cheap course back home.
  • Must convert distances in meters to yards.
  • Water hazards are blue-painted rocks arranged in a circle.
  • The bunkers had really nice sand.
  • French golf vocabulary uses almost all of the same terminology as English.
  • This is the only time I’ve ever had to stop mid-shot due to donkey cart crossing (check out the last photo).
We ended up playing just nine holes, but that’s about the maximum amount of time that I can handle being out in the sun anyway. Total cost was about 12,500 CFA for the green fee, club rental and tips for the caddies (~$25). I probably won’t be playing again anytime soon (especially on my Peace Corps salary), but hope to get out again at least one more time during my time here. Recommended to anyone who has even the slightest interest in golf, if only for the novelty of it all.
I’ll leave you with this exchange with my caddy on the 8th tee box:
Caddy: Try not to go left – there’s water over there.
Me: Really? Water? Like a pond?
Caddy: Well, dry water.

4 Responses to “Golfing in Ouagadougou?!”

  1. 1 DW
    November 28, 2011 at 18:13

    Ok, black for the greens, and blue for the hazards. But how do they differentiate the bunkers?

  2. 3 Bruce Williford Gaoua, 1984-86
    December 1, 2011 at 04:09

    The course has improved since 1985. The Ambassador took me and another volunteer for a round back in the day. He even bought the beer.

    • December 6, 2011 at 05:47

      Hi Bruce – would love to hear some of the differences when you played back in ’85 (or photos if you’ve got them)!

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The opinions on this blog are only those of the author, and and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.