Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Known for bringing together decision makers, leading investors and global experts to explore future economic trends and opportunities, the Future Investment Initiative (FII) has now turned its attention to the golf industry with a series of events.
Central to this was an expert panel led by Majed Al-Sorour, Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Golf Federation, to discuss the future of golf and its role within leisure, tourism, sport and urban development going forward – both internationally and in Saudi Arabia itself.
“This has been a great few days for golf in Saudi,” said Al-Sorour. “By putting the game on the agenda at a high-profile business event such as this, we have again demonstrated our commitment. Having so many leading lights attend from around the world – both players and industry professionals – is a real statement of intent and a very valuable exercise. We look forward to not only driving the game forward here, but also around the world, with our best practice approach.”
The panel which was held at the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, also welcomed Ernie Els, a four-time Major champion and former world number one; Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour; and Camilla Lennarth, a Ladies European Tour winner, who came together to debate the issues facing golf in front of influential business and industry figures.
“The Middle East has always been a very important part of our schedule,” said Pelley, who joined the European Tour in 2015. “The climate here is terrific, the amenities are first-rate, and the golf courses are exceptional. Golf Saudi wants to use the game to transform the country and there is no question that Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of helping us to develop the game. Our game is so much about inclusivity and it’s fantastic that the Saudi Golf Federation shares that vision.”
The panellists were later joined by a host of well-known professional golfers and influential industry figures for a Welcome Reception in the heart of Riyadh – an opportunity to network and exchange views more informally over the course of a few hours before heading out on the course the following day.
The ‘Golf Means Business’ golf day was held at Nofa Golf Resort outside Riyadh and was hosted by His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The Pro-Am golf day featured the likes of Els, Thomas Bjorn and Catriona Matthew, Europe’s respective successful Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup captains; Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters Tournament champion; and a host of Ladies European Tour stars, including Carly Booth, Isabella Deilert, Annabel Dimmock, Victoria Fricot, Maha Haddioui, Lennarth and Frida Spang.
Playing alongside investment and business figures in attendance for FII, it was the ideal way to round out a three-day programme of events in the Kingdom.
The Future Investment Initiative, now in its third year, is an international platform for expert-led debate between global leaders, investors and innovators with the power to shape the future of global investment. It is focused on utilising investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, while addressing global challenges.
*Golf Saudi is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation