Golf gets on a roll in Saudi Arabia

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A participant tries his hand at SNAG. (Photos/Supplied)
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Participants pose for a group photo with their certificates. (Photos/Supplied)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Golf gets on a roll in Saudi Arabia

  • SNAG is the brainchild of former US PGA Tour professional Terry Antondan

RIYADH: Golf Saudi this week saw the rollout of the innovative Starting New At Golf certification program in Riyadh.

Better known as SNAG, the program includes all the basics of golf, helping to teach beginners and build up their skills. SNAG has become popular globally, as it can be played both indoors and outdoors, ensuring anyone can learn, anyone can play and anyone can teach golf.

Taking place this week at Riyadh Golf Courses, the level one and level two certification programs were delivered to 28 people, with all 28 participants being fully certified. As part of the final session, all certified SNAG coaches delivered sessions (as the concluding part of the certification process) to schoolchildren at the Tadrees’ Dar Al-Baraah National School in Riyadh.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “We have identified SNAG as the key platform for the early stages of Golf Saudi’s ‘Get into Golf’ schools program, which focuses on introducing golf at grassroots level to non-golfing Saudi children.”

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The innovative Starting New At Golf certification program, better known as SNAG, includes all the basics of golf, helping to teach beginners and build up their skills.

Al-Sorour continued: “Mass participation forms one of Golf Saudi’s key pillars, with the aim of introducing, educating and entertaining citizens about golf, particularly young people. Our view is that when children play a sport, if they have fun, it is far more likely that they are going to come back, pursue it and potentially become future golfers.”

SNAG is the brainchild of former US PGA Tour professional Terry Anton and the program ensures golf is easy to learn, thanks to its colorful, portable and easy-to-use equipment, presenting the game’s rules in a simple fashion. There has never been a system dedicated to the development of new players that is both easy to teach and learn, until SNAG. Once the program has become a proven learning and training system and begins to expand, Golf Saudi will then scale it up.

To oversee its development, a number of attendees from Golf Saudi were present during the three days, including: Steven Troup, director of instruction; Bouchaib Al-Jadiani, head of mass participation; Theo Potgieter, golf operations manager; Rawan Al-Salim, program manager; and Razan Al-Hussain, communications officer. There were also four physical education teachers from the Tadrees’ Dar Al-Baraah National School and 19 attendees from local golf clubs in Riyadh, including Riyadh Greens, Nofa Resorts, Intercontinental and Dirab Golf Club.

Zouhaier Jebri, the PGA professional from Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, was also in attendance. Trainer Jordan Lawrence, who delivered this week’s sessions, has considerable experience with SNAG programs in inner city communities and school groups, and he was impressed by what he saw during the three days.

“I am very pleased how this week’s upbeat SNAG sessions went and how well they were received by both the teachers and schoolchildren. This program is the first step in transitioning non-golfers to the golf course in a fun, safe and engaging way. This week has demonstrated that SNAG is the perfect starting place for any child on their future journey to becoming a golfer,” said Lawrence.

“This week’s first SNAG certification program has been delivered to the group of local golf coaches, golf club staff and physical education teachers for the purpose of creating a nationwide network of knowledgeable, skilled grassroots coaches, which is in turn adding to Golf Saudi’s Mass Participation pillar.”


Saudi helpers step up to the tee at first women’s golf tournament

Updated 17 min 56 sec ago

Saudi helpers step up to the tee at first women’s golf tournament

  • Volunteers will have the chance to step inside the ropes and get up close with the sport’s leading players

JEDDAH: Saudi volunteers will be able to write their names into the history books by helping at the first-ever Saudi Ladies International professional golf tournament.

Competition organizers are looking to recruit hundreds of people to help with the smooth running of the four-day event from March 19-22 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

Volunteers will have the chance to step inside the ropes and get up close with the sport’s leading players, including Order of Merit winner Beth Allen, three-time Ladies European Tour (LET) winner Carly Booth and Solheim Cup hero Azahara Munoz, as they compete for $1 million in prize money. 

The LET tournament in Saudi Arabia will mark the first time that professional female golfers have played competitively in the country, and comes hot on the heels of last month’s triumphant men’s equivalent, the Saudi International, won by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Online registration is now open for the debut event’s volunteers’ program.

Volunteers will be briefed before the event and receive a tournament uniform to wear while they work.

Marshals, including traveling, static, crossing and transitional positions, will be required for the tournament. Mobile scoreboard operators and walking scorers are among other roles that will offer volunteers a unique insight into the world-class event.

Mike Oliver, event director at Golf Saudi, said: “For the first year of this event, we are offering volunteers a chance to be part of history, working at the first professional women’s golf event to be held in the country.

“Volunteers, from both Saudi Arabia and abroad, will play a key role in helping us deliver a successful inaugural tournament,” he said.

A certificate of service will be presented to volunteers at the completion of the tournament.

As a bonus, volunteers will have their photo taken with the 2020 ladies winner during the prize presentation — a moment that will be seen by a worldwide audience via live broadcasts.