ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Golf Saudi Hosts Grow the Game Initiative

Hana Basrawi (left), Nawal Al Khalawi (centre) and Maram Al Butairi (right) tried out golf at the second Aramco Team Series tournament in Spain.

Sotogrande, Spain: Golf Saudi has hosted leading female Saudi personalities at the second Aramco Team Series tournament in Spain.

Activities were organised as part of Golf Saudi’s wider Mass Participation programme, which aims to grow the game of golf and boost participation in Saudi Arabia and internationally.

Participants were introduced to golf by Golf Saudi’s Mass Participation senior professionals Grant Smith and Steven Troup, with guests including Saudi health coach and entrepreneur Nawal Alkhalawi, the founder of the first Saudi female football team Maram Albutairi, and social media influencer Hana Bassrawi.

As part of the introduction to golf, Smith and Troup provided the participating ladies with some beginner’s tips as well as fun challenges and the chance to try their hand on a golf simulator.

The clinic also saw the rollout of Golf Saudi’s newest event activation, a challenge course devised in partnership with ‘The Stadium Concept’, a 360º educational programme, which introduces participants to the game in a fun and easy way. Following the conclusion of the clinic, participants were treated to a tour of the golf course at La Reserva Club.

Golf Saudi’s Mass Participation programme remains a top priority for the organisation as it seeks to attract and inspire the next generation of Saudis to take up the game and develop home-grown champions.

To this end, Golf Saudi, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, launched ‘The Ladies First Club’ last November to 1,000 Saudi women, offering complimentary membership inclusive of golf lessons, driving range access and a nine-hole experience played with an instructor on three different courses.

The organisation also hopes to use its Mass Participation programme to meet its targets of creating 3,700 jobs by 2030, as well as training up to 24,000 new golfers within the next decade.

Among the guests was Albutairi who said the work Golf Saudi is doing to promote the game is a good sign for the future of the women’s sports sector in Saudi.

“It was such an honour being in Sotogrande for the second Aramco Team Series tournament and to have the chance to meet in-person with such an array of talented female golfers,” said Albutairi. “As a Director of Eastern Flames Football Club in Saudi Arabia, I know first-hand the positive impact that sport can play in the lives of young girls and women. It’s great that Golf Saudi is paving a way not only for Saudi female golfers but for other women internationally, giving them the opportunities to learn, develop and compete in world class tournaments.”

During the visit, all necessary Covid-19 precautions were followed, from social distancing to limiting the number of attendees, ensuring a safe event for all participants. The limitation on the number of attendees provided a more concentrated and focused introduction for participants.

Other guests of Golf Saudi included Alkhalawi who tried her hand at golf for the first time and expressed her desire to pick up a club upon her return to Saudi Arabia.

She said: “Golf is a game of patience. Practicing alone is a meditative act, whilst playing with friends and family cultivates deep connections and competing professionally requires a strong mind, character and skills.

“These are all positives and so it is gratifying to see that Golf Saudi is investing both time and resources to bring this great game to the people of Saudi Arabia. From what I’ve seen here in Sotogrande, it won’t be too long until we see the first Saudi women compete in similar international tournaments.”

An event unique to golf, The Aramco Team Series consists of 36 teams made up of three professionals and one amateur with scores from all four contributing to the final result.

Following the events in London and Sotogrande, the Series moves onto New York (October 14-16) and finally Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (November 10-12).

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