KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: The inaugural Golf Saudi Summit ended on Tuesday with the final three sessions from leading industry executives on the development of golf.
The final day of the summit included separate debates on “Pioneering Environmental Practices,” “The Power of Partnerships” and “The Modern Era.”
Helmed by three of the world’s most renowned experts on the subject, Andy Johnston, general manager at Sentosa GC; Richard Walne, president of the Asian Golf Industry Federation; and Lee Penrose, executive director at STRI, the first panel debated how golf could become more environmentally conscious and adapt in the face of growing climate change concerns.
The penultimate session of this year’s event led by Golf Saudi COO Ed Edwards, “The Power of Partnerships” saw Darshan Singh, educator at the Club Managers Association of Europe; Mark Adams, executive director, Faldo Enterprises; and John Holmes, president, Atlas Turf Management, discuss how important it is to identify foundations which help Saudi Arabia develop its grassroots golf program, environmental sustainability as well as ensuring successful business partnerships are secured.
Then, to close, “The Modern Era” explored how innovative technologies can bring new interest to golf and that Saudi Arabia should look to leverage Top Golf to drive interest in the game. Speakers in the final panel included leading golf coach David Leadbetter; Chris May, CEO of Dubai Golf; Jun Hwan Kim, president of Golfzon; and Ian Randell, CEO at the Confederation of Professional Golf.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Golf Saudi Summit, Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said:
“It has been fantastic to have so many of the industry’s leading figureheads attend the inaugural Golf Saudi Summit and provide insights that could provide the basis to help further expand the development of golf in Saudi Arabia.
“Holding an event like this will allow Golf Saudi to create new ideas that can be used to attract more people within the Kingdom to play golf and give them the access and infrastructure they need to learn the game.”
Other headline names that spoke at the summit included: Major winners Gary Player and Greg Norman as well as award-winning golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tim Schantz, CEO of Troon. Saudi stakeholders who attended included Mike Reininger, CEO of Qiddiya, and John Pagano, CEO of the Red Sea Development Company.