JEDDAH: As the popularity of golf continues to grow in the Kingdom, new educational and interactive programs are being introduced to raise the profile of the sport even higher among young people and adults, and help them to improve their skills.
The initiative was announced at the conclusion of the European Tour’s third Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, which was held between Feb. 3 and 7 at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City.
Under the umbrella of the Social Agenda, which is part of the new National Sustainability Strategy alongside the Green Agenda and the Economic Agenda, the golf program will offer complimentary memberships and lessons, along with internships and other ways to play regularly and develop skills.
The complimentary memberships will include a digital Introduction to Golf education pack that includes monthly seminars outlining the key aspects of the sport for beginners, led by a certified Golf Saudi coach. The program concludes with an on-course induction session for all participants and a chance to play a full round of 18 holes.
More experienced players can also benefit from the program. One of the first to do so is Abdulrahman Al-Mansour, who has played for the Saudi national golf team, teaches the sport and is now participating in an internship program with Golf Saudi.
“From the first moment I picked up a club, I always wanted to be a part of the golf community in some capacity, so I am incredibly grateful to Golf Saudi for providing me with this opportunity,” he said. “Working as a golf coach in my current role
is something I adore doing as it gives me the chance to introduce the game I love to Saudis every day.”
In addition, a nationwide program called Let it Fly is in development and received a test run during the Saudi International tournament. It will offer families and friends a chance to learn the sport through some innovative events.
Majed Al-Sorour, the CEO of Golf Saudi and Saudi Golf Federation, said: “With the rollout of the Social Agenda we have created an educational framework, including the Golf Saudi internship program, to accommodate the formulation of a skilled domestic workforce, creating the pathway for members of the Saudi community to embark on a range of careers in and around golf, with the aim of creating an abundance of new job opportunities.”
Until recently Golf was not the most accessible of sports in Saudi Arabia but as its profile has gradually risen, more people have been tempted to pick up a club and have a go. Some who have yet to do so said the new initiative offers the perfect incentive.
“It’s absolutely delightful that the Kingdom is taking an interest and investing in all kind of sports,” Wajd Abdullah, a 27-year-old full-time mom in Jeddah, told Arab News. She added that she looks forward to trying the sport with her family.
“I feel like I didn’t have that chance when I was growing up to think about the possibilities and maybe make a career out of sports — but I’m glad my daughter has that chance,” she said.
“It’s such a fun activity for parents to take their kids and show them a different kind of sport. I think it’ll teach them patience and strategizing in the long run.”
Alongside its Let it Fly program, Golf Saudi has also developed a smartphone game that will offer prizes such as an iPhone 12 Pro Max, Montblanc headphones and a Sony Alpha 6600 camera.