How Tob Cohen Rose From business flop to successful golf mogul

How Tob Cohen Rose From business flop to successful golf mogul

How Tob Cohen Rose From business flop to successful golf mogulHow Tob Cohen Rose From business flop to successful golf mogul: When the slain Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen founded Tobs Kenya Golf Safaris in 1991, he became the first tours and travel consultant to exploit the then 38 golf courses in Kenya.

Optimistic in his business idea, he distributed his glossy brochure to more than 500 golf clubs in the world.

Cohen had good venture capital backings however the business flopped.

“Cohen’s marketing campaign was an unmitigated failure, resulting in just one booking,” wrote Simon Hudson in his book, Sport and Adventure Tourism.

That is how Cohen switched his focus to Dutch, Swiss and German golf markets, from where he lured high-spending golfers.


Tobs Kenya Golf Safaris beat nine other African companies (mostly from South Africa), to claim Africa’s best “Golf Tour Operators’’ Award during the 2018 World Golf Tourism Award ceremony held at the five- star La Manga Golf Resort in Murcia Spain at the weekend.

The Golf Operator’s recognition came as a major boost to Kenya’s Golf Tourism Industry, especially because the Kenya Open had become part of the PGA European Tour.

Receiving the award, Tobs Golf Safaris chairman Tob Cohen said the award represented a great honour and recognition not only for his company but even more so to Kenya’s Golf Tourism Industry.


He hoped that the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) would use the opportunity to develop a five-year marketing plan, including strategy and budget to put Kenya finally on the map as a World Class Golf Tourism Destination.

“South Africa gets 100,000 golfing tourists, while Thailand, Spain and Portugal receive more than 750,000 golfing tourists each year. Kenya has the potential to attract at least 50,000 golfers yearly if marketed properly,” Cohen said.

In combination with the award-winning Maasai Mara, super white sand beaches, a friendly English-speaking population, he said Kenya can do so much more to get its share in this very lucrative niche of the tourism industry.

On Friday after his body was retrieved at  Kitisuru home, the deceased’s brother-in-law Roy Stratten said Cohen loved the country and had no intention of leaving.

“He considered himself more Kenyan,” Stratten said.

H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya (2002 – 2013) and Patron of the Kenya Golf Union, welcoming Tobs, Chairman of the Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance (KGMA) at State House Nairobi on 24 April 2003.


In 1996, he set the pace by developing East Africa’s first tourism website. It was a hit, and with it came money and fame.

A businessman they said has an eye for business and takes risks.

Cohen observed that Kenya had more than 40 golf courses and excellent golf weather conditions all-year-long.

He saw the potential to attract tens of thousands of golfing tourists per year.

The former CEO of the Philips Electronics Group of Companies in East Africa started offering a combination of golf, safaris and beach holidays.

23 years later, the company founded by the dutch tycoon- Tobs Kenya Golf Safaris, Travel & Events, that once stumbled is stronger than ever.

Former Captain of Vetlab Golf Club, Kabete JG Njega in a phone interview with the Star said VIP service and personal attention are what Tobs Kenya Golf Safaris, Travel & Events is known for.

“The Tobs’ team is dedicated and highly trained and all are personally involved in organizing your dream golf holiday and corporate golf event to the last detail, ” Njenga said.


In 2012, Tobs organised the first Kenya golf trophy. The tournament became Kenya’s largest corporate amateur golf event with more than Sh5,000,000 worth of prizes and more than 50 sponsors.

In 2016 Tobs diversified again and added Medical Tourism to Thailand to its Product portfolio.

Tobs Golf Safaris chairman Tob Cohen (left) lifts Africa’s best “Golf Tour Operators’’ Award at the La Manga Golf Resort in Murcia Spain on November 3, 2018.

Personal profile

Cohen was a Director of the Board of Kenya’s Home of Golf.

He was the director of the Muthaiga gold club from (2009 – 2013).

He was the founder of the Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance (1997-2010).

The first Chairman of the Kenya Chapter of IAGTO( 1997 – 2010)

Member of the Executive Committee of Skal Nairobi (2013).

Member of the Executive Committee of KATO ( 1992 – 1994).

He won the IAGTO’S award for the best-undiscovered destination of the year in 2009.

In 2015, 2016 2017 and 2018 he won Africa’s best golf tour operator at the World Golf Awards Ceremonies held in November 2018 at La Manga Club, Spain.

Cohen’s body was on Friday discovered at an underground tank at his Kitusuru home by DCI detectives after he went missing from July 19.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti described the murder of the Dutch tycoon as gruesome.



How Tob Cohen Rose From business flop to successful golf mogul

Source The Star Newspaper

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