Al Sorour: Saudi Arabia will become golf’s most dynamic market within a decade

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KAEC — Majed Al Sorour, chief executive officer of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, Monday gave the opening keynote speech of the inaugural Golf Saudi Summit to outline Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become recognized as the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years.

Delivering his address to the first ever assembly of national and international stakeholders in the Kingdom following the conclusion of the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, Al Sorour said: “It gives me great pleasure to be able to welcome you all to Saudi Arabia and to discuss something that is very close to my heart, the great game of golf. Golf requires commitment. Dedication to mastering the basics. The sport demands etiquette, discipline and self-governance. As a result of these values, I want golf to become part of the fabric of modern-day Saudi Arabia.”

The inaugural Golf Saudi Summit will allow delegates the chance to learn more about golf’s rapid growth within the Kingdom while evolving key business relations. In the coming days, attendees will see first-hand how the nation has taken major strides in golf development through Golf Saudi’s commitment to creating a new ecosystem, which has focussed on Golf Saudi’s five key development pillars: Access and Infrastructure, Events, National Team and Academies, Mass Participation and Tourism.

Showcasing Saudi Arabia’s ambition and its connectivity to the Vision 2030 social-economic development program, the Summit is the brainchild of Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, and has been established to bring the leading business figures in global golf together to debate how Saudi can pioneer new benchmarks in mass participation, design and management.

Key metrics Golf Saudi wish to achieve in the next decade include having 13,000 to 27,000 registered golfers in the Kingdom, to ensure over one million Saudi nationals have actively tried golf, as well as establishing golfing camps for children with a minimum of one camp per week at each golf course, with each camp consisting of roughly 30 children.

“Under the vision of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman the nation has taken the boldest steps in its history, ” said Al Sorour, adding, “We have laid out major plans for the socio-economic growth and development of the Kingdom; in tourism, commerce, investment and the entertainment sectors The nation has taken its boldest step and is very much open for business. These are hugely exciting times. I have a number of over-arching aspirations for golf in the Kingdom, but fundamentally I want golf to help develop the leaders of tomorrow, in government, in business and in all walks of life.”

“During this week’s inaugural Golf Saudi Summit, we are hoping that our conversations can play a significant role in shaping our collective vision for golf in Saudi Arabia. We want to debate how we drive true golfing success in Saudi Arabia. How we introduce the game at every level. To children and to adults. To men and to women. Right across the Kingdom.”

During the Golf Saudi Summit, businesses will be given a unique opportunity to tap into this progress, as the Kingdom showcases numerous lucrative opportunities and its ability to drive real estate, corporate, tourism and business-to-business benefits.

With the Golf Saudi Summit officially starting Sunday during the final day of the European Tour showpiece event, at the award-winning Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, just north of Jeddah, delegates also experienced the world’s best players going head-to-head. Going into the last day of the tournament, a tense final round was played out with Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell maintaining his slender advantage to secure a two-shot victory over defending champion Dustin Johnson.

Other headline names speaking at this week’s Summit include: Major winners Gary Player, Greg Norman; award-winning golf course architects Robert Trent Jones Jnr; and Tim Schantz, CEO of Troon and one of the game’s most powerful figures. Saudi stakeholders attending will notably include: Mike Reininger, CEO Qiddiya; John Pagano, CEO Red Sea Development Company. — SG


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