During the week of Saudi Arabia’s inaugural European Tour event, the Saudi International powered by SBIA, the Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation (SGF), His Excellency Yasir Bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, announced a dynamic golf development programme which looks set to transform the golfing landscape in the Kingdom and utilise the game’s wide-reaching benefits for the people of Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia has embraced the great game of golf and has embarked on a journey to introduce and integrate the game at all levels, to the betterment of society and to reinforce and diversify our economy,” commented His Excellency. “As the nation demonstrates its position at the heart of the Arabic and Islamic world, it also continues to realise its role as a global investment powerhouse and demonstrates how its continued investment in sports and, in this instance, golf can unite our nation’s stakeholders and enhance international relations.”
The golf development programme has identified five key pillars: Access & Infrastructure, Mass Participation, Elite Player Development, Events and Tourism. To ensure the delivery of the vision, the SGF, a member of the International Golf Federation, has introduced a consumer-facing vehicle, Golf Saudi, which sets out to educate, integrate and champion the great game of golf in its support of Vision 2030. The SGF also announced it will oversee the development of up to 18 golf courses, at select locations throughout the Kingdom, between now and 2030.
“The world of sport provides us with the most comprehensive opportunity to augment our national vision, to diversify our lifestyle and grow our economy,” continued His Excellency. “The power of the great game of golf will stand as a pillar over time and we believe that the sport will become one of the nation’s favourite pastimes.”
During the European Tour showpiece event, staged at the award-winning Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, in King Abdullah Economic City, just north of Jeddah, the SGF unveiled a new logo for Golf Saudi, as well as a website, www.GolfSaudi.com
In addition, a video has been unveiled showcasing the endeavour of Golf Saudi and sharing insights from the players and some of the game’s national and international stakeholders which can be viewed here.
“When you hear about Golf Saudi and their plans around development, it is hard not to be impressed by the strategy and the thought process,” commented Brooks Koepka, World No.2 and three-time Major Champion. “When you see the course and facilities here at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, as well as the spectacular coastline, you begin to understand the potential the country has when it comes to golf and how popular a sport it’s going to become here.”
The Saudi International presented by SBIA is a landmark occasion for Saudi Arabia and yet another clear indicator of the national movement. With four of the world’s top five players, the intent and determination from the SGF, owner and promoter of the event, and the team at Golf Saudi is clear.
“From a golf perspective, this is without doubt one of the most significant moves we have seen from a nation in demonstrating its passion for the game,” said Dustin Johnson, the eventual winner of the event (pictured above by Getty Images). “Saudi Arabia already seems to have a deep understanding of the power golf has as a sport and how it can benefit society at so many levels. It is going to be exciting to watch its development in the coming years.”
The Saudi Golf Federation is the governing body for golf in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, responsible for handicapping, development of golf as a sport and for delivering national tournaments. Based in Riyadh, the Federation is a full member of the Council of National Golf Unions and is committed to fully developing the game for all its citizens and residents.