As the world’s best golfers prepare to tee off at next month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited have launched a ground-breaking grassroots programme – the largest in the emirate – to introduce more than 2,000 local school children to the game.
The ‘Champions of Tomorrow’ programme aims to educate, engage and inspire Emirati and expatriate youngsters in a bid to unearth the next generation of UAE talent.
Students from eight local schools will receive more than 400 hours of coaching at world-class facilities in the emirate’s leading clubs including: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi City Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Golf Club.
“Never before has a free grassroots golf initiative of this kind been implemented on such a large scale in Abu Dhabi, and we thank our long-term partner HSBC for taking the reins in driving this forward,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, ADSC’s General Secretary. “Together, we have created a long-term programme that will grow golf within the local community while helping to set youngsters out on a journey of healthy lifestyles, sportsmanship and competitive spirit.”
The programme launches as the emirate eagerly anticipates the arrival of golf’s young elite stars for the 11th Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 21-24, including world number one Jordan Spieth, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy and American hotshot Rickie Fowler.
Al Awani added: “The young megastar trio of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler is really shaking up the game and they are exactly the exciting personalities that are needed to attract more juniors into golf. We are expecting to draw a younger local demographic with their presence at next year’s Championship, which we hope, in hand with the new junior programme, will inspire our own next generation of home-grown superstars.”
The Abu Dhabi Junior Programme will engage youngsters through four modules, teeing off with ‘Discover Golf Month’ where the four golf clubs will offer free taster sessions for one hour per day across seven days in December. Then in January 2016, groups of students will enjoy unique hour-long guided tours on the Thursday and Sunday of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
After watching first-hand how the world’s best do it, the students will experience the ‘Discover Golf at School’ module, where golf professionals will visit the eight schools. The junior programme will culminate with ‘Discover Talent’, where the schools will each receive a dedicated four-week course of beginner coaching from one of the four golf clubs, throughout February and March 2016.
Abdulfattah Sharaf, Group General Manager & Chief Executive Officer of HSBC UAE said “We are confident that our commitment to this programme will drive the game forward and further inspire a new generation of golfers to discover the game in the UAE and the region. It also demonstrates HSBC’s strong commitment to our businesses in the UAE and Abu Dhabi.”
Sharaf added “As a long term sponsor of golf around the world, we are committed to growing the game at all levels. HSBC is proud of our association with international flagship tournaments such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and we also recognise that today’s prodigies are tomorrow’s champions. This is why we are supporting this ground-breaking new initiative and many others like it. We hope that ‘Champions of Tomorrow’ will become a cornerstone of our global grass roots programme which spans China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and Abu Dhabi, mirroring our flagship tournaments around the world. With golf returning to the Olympics Games at Rio 2016 and a new generation of golfing superstars like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler inspiring the next wave of talent, there has never been a better time for golf to take the stage.”
The Abu Dhabi Junior Development Programme was created by ADSC and HSBC to further enhance the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship’s legacy to grow the game of golf amongst locals and unearth future stars from the UAE.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is owned and presented by ADSC. Tickets and tailored packages are available via the event’s official website www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com at AED50 for a daily pass and AED150 for a four-day pass. Guests staying at any Abu Dhabi hotel over the Championship period enter free.
HSBC Golf www.hsbcgolf.com