JEDDAH: Prince Khalid bin Saud Al-Faisal has been visible in golf for as long as anyone can remember — even more so now in his role as adviser to the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
Arab News caught up with Prince Khalid on Saturday, and the lifelong golfer with a single-digit handicap talked about the future of golf and its potential as an industry in Saudi Arabia in the buildup to the Saudi International.
The European Tour event is taking place this week at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club with a star-studded field of 132 players vying for a prize fund of $3.5 million.
Prince Khalid said the two high-profile tournaments Saudi Arabia is hosting — the Saudi International and Saudi Ladies Championship in March — will show that golf can be a good career choice for women as well as men.
“There are many opportunities for Saudis to have a career in the golf industry. The golf industry encompasses hospitality, management, agronomy, real estate and a host of other professions as well as being a golf professional, both touring and teaching,” Prince Khalid said.
“With the ambitious plans for the Saudi game, supported by King Salman and with special support from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, golf has a bright future, and should provide many job and career opportunities for Saudis, both male and female,” he said.
“With the support given to all sports by our leadership, Saudis now have the option to take up sports as a profession, and build a life and career out of it.
With the ambitious plans for the Saudi game, supported by King Salman and with special support from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, golf has a bright future, and should provide many job and career opportunities for Saudis, both male and female.
Prince Khalid bin Saud Al-Faisal
“We have a national ladies team, alongside our junior and men’s teams, which is a wonderful development.
“The Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi under the direction of Yasir Al-Rumayyan and his right-hand man Majed Al-Sorour have developed wonderful plans for golf courses, academies, training programs and entertainment golf that will accelerate the spread of the sport in Saudi Arabia.”
“In addition to this, we have the professional men’s and ladies tournaments, and the prize money is an indication of the support given to golf,” Prince Khalid added.
The prince, son of the late Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal, thanked the crown prince for the support he has given to sports in general and to the “sport I live most in particular.”
Prince Khalid’s love affair with golf started late in his teen years.
“I started playing golf consistently when I was in my early 20s. Golf is a wonderful sport. It is one of the most difficult sports as well as one of the most rewarding, and can be played competitively and for fun with family and friends,” he said.