THUWAL: Golf Saudi on Thursday launched the first-ever Arabic golf education and training program.
It aims to broaden the concept of the golf industry in the Kingdom and will educate Saudis about golf by offering them an array of roles in the sector, from golf course management to greenkeeping and event planning.
By 2025, the program is expected to provide Saudis with 2,200 new jobs.
Majed Al-Sorour, deputy chairman and CEO of Golf Saudi, announced the launch at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, near Jeddah.
Al-Sorour, who is also the CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation, told a press conference: “It is my pleasure to confirm that Golf Saudi has launched the first-ever Arabic education and training program, furthering our commitment to make golf accessible to all.”
A partnership was signed during the press conference between Golf Saudi, Qaderoon Business Disability Network, and the National Training Center for Facilities and Hospitality Management.
Around 7.1 percent of the Saudi population has disabilities, according to official statistics.
Al-Sorour said golf was a sport for everyone and that caring for people with disabilities was a social responsibility. “We started the sport with men and women, and now it is time to involve people with disabilities in the game. I am here to tell them that they can play it because golf is a sport for everyone.”
Founder and chairman of Qaderoon, Amr Khashoggi, said: “We must take care of all categories of the sons and daughters of the country, and in terms of integrating them in all fields. Qaderoon was established in 2014 to include, recruit, hire, and sustain persons with disability in the workforce. Through our partnership with Saudi Golf, we look forward to providing them (with) working opportunities in the field of golf.”
Qaderoon has different international memberships including the International Labour Organization’s Global Business and Disability Network, based in Geneva, and the UK-based Business Disability Forum.
Osama Al-Najjar, executive director of FHM, said: “We are very proud to be working with Golf Saudi on this Arabic program to enhance the golf industry’s future leaders in the Kingdom.”
Bill Sanderson, who is the lead presenter at the Club Management Association of Europe, spoke about creating job opportunities for Saudis in the golf industry.
“You don’t import knowledge and skills from elsewhere, you grow your own. Our job is to come in and help them see how they can take part in this. My thanks, first of all, must go to Golf Saudi for not only implementing this first program of its kind, but also the planning and thought process in rolling it out across the Kingdom. This bold move demonstrates their courage to follow through on their extraordinary vision, in terms of making golf an inclusive sport throughout the Kingdom.”
Golf Saudi aims to provide participation and employment opportunities in the industry as part of its national sustainability strategy.
Steven Troup, director of instruction and education at Golf Saudi, said: “Our goal is very much about creating a sustainable golf industry here. And to be able to do that we have to create golfers, we have to create employment interests. There’s a massive amount of jobs that will be created by the growth of the industry here in Saudi Arabia.
“It is our plan is to ensure that we educate and train 70 Saudi nationals as the future leaders of the game in the country for the rest of its existence. So we recognize that there is obviously a big gap there, and we needed to create that opportunity. And we brought in various partners to help us be able to do that.”
To familiarize locals with the sport, Golf Saudi challenged big names from the industry such as CMAE, the world’s leading organization for the development of golf industry professionals, to develop and facilitate the sector in the country.
“It’s very much specific to those that are already working in the golf environment to help us develop that bottom part of the pedal impediments, what we do for Saudi nationals where the industry doesn’t exist here is we introduce them to golf, how people play and why people play. Why is it a great sport for society to have access to? And then we take people on a journey through the business element of it, where we introduce foundation skills, develop supervisory and team leadership skills where we will be letting people follow a track into the World Leaders’ Program,” Troup added.
Thursday also marked the start of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, organized by the Public Investment Fund, that runs until Sunday.
On Friday there will be a Ladies Day, an extension of the tournament, where recreational and educational activities will be offered to women and girls.
They will learn more about the sport through free training sessions and have the chance to meet professional golfers.
Tickets for Ladies Day are available free of charge at www.golfsaudi.com.
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