Saudi ladies club sees over 1,000 women sign-up to learn golf

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The club opened for membership on the first the tournament on Thursday, where it saw more than 500 women sign up. (Supplied)
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The club opened for membership on the first the tournament on Thursday, where it saw more than 500 women sign up. (Supplied)
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The club opened for membership on the first the tournament on Thursday, where it saw more than 500 women sign up. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 November 2020

Saudi ladies club sees over 1,000 women sign-up to learn golf

  • The newly launched “Ladies First Club,” will be giving free golf lessons
  • Women will be coached through the basics of the game

JEDDAH: A golf initiative launched by Saudi Arabia to get women into the sport saw more than 1,000 new golfers sign-up in just four days.

Inspired by the weekend’s debut Aramco Saudi Ladies International – the Kingdom’s first ever professional women’s golf tournament – hundreds of women across the country registered to learn golf for the first time.

The newly launched “Ladies First Club,” will be giving free golf lessons, driving range access and full rounds of golf at courses across the country.

Women will be coached through the basics of the game at either Riyadh Golf Club, Dirab Golf Club or King Abdullah Economic City’s (KAEC) Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, host course of this week’s tournaments.

The membership will also include a digital “Introduction to Golf” education pack, which will provide monthly seminars outlining the key aspects of golf for beginners. Each course will host a Ladies First golf clinic once a month, led by a professional, which will conclude with an on-course induction for all participants and an 18-hole round.

The club opened for membership on the first the tournament on Thursday, where it saw more than 500 women sign up.

There were less than 20 female members across the Kingdom’s golf clubs ahead of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.

It was launched as a way of bringing more Saudi women into golf, as part pf Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 which aims to get more Saudis regularly active.

“We have been absolutely blown away by the phenomenal response to the Ladies First Club. One thousand new golfers is extraordinary for golf in Saudi Arabia and will change the entire landscape of the game across the Kingdom,” Golf Saudi CEO Majed Al-Sorour said.

“To have a thousand of our women and girls commit to learning golf on the weekend of our debut Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF is an unbelievable legacy, and goes beyond even our most ambitious expectations,” he added.

Arabic golfer Maha Haddioui - was one of the 108 professionals competing in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International – said she knew the event was making waves when she came off the course to Instagram requests from Saudi women desperate to know how they could get into golf.

“I got direct messages from Saudi women saying: ‘I want to play golf, how do I do it?’, which was great with the Ladies First Club launching this same weekend. So I sent them the link and they signed-up, which is so exciting! I can’t wait to follow-up with them a year or so down the line,” Haddioui said.

“They’ve just been awesome, messaging me and asking questions all about golf. It shows the impact this event – and the Ladies First Club – are having here. Something like this I’d never have been able to even imagine two years ago when I first came here to play,” she added.

Ladies European Tour CEO Alexandra Armas spoke of her delight at the instant impact of the Tour’s first event in the Kingdom, and paid testament to Golf Saudi for ensuring women inspired by the tournament had a simple and accessible way to carry that momentum forward.

“As soon as I started conversations with Golf Saudi about bringing the Tour here I was very keen to understand what their vision was for the game in the Kingdom, and how they wanted to develop golf here,” said Armas.

“The Ladies First Club is a superb concept and with a thousand members joining in just its first four days shows that what’s happening on the golf course here is already translating into women and girls picking up golf clubs, which is just fantastic,” she added.

Off the course, and the Ladies First Club will also provide a range of social opportunities, including invites to social mornings, plus the likes of Pilates, yoga, bridge and other wellbeing activities.


Iniesta fires Japan’s Vissel Kobe into last 16

Updated 26 November 2020

Iniesta fires Japan’s Vissel Kobe into last 16

  • They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings

DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday.

The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th minute to help the Japanese side consolidate their position at the top of their group with two wins from as many matches.

They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings and assured of a spot in the knockout phase after the group was reduced to three teams following Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta'zim's withdrawal from the tournament.

In another match on Wednesday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors pipped Sydney FC 1-0 in Group H with Na Sung-eun scoring in the 44th minute.

It was the Australian side's third defeat in four matches while Jeonbuk revived their hopes with their first victory.

Iniesta, who was declared MVP of the match, had been an influential presence for Vissel Kobe throughout the encounter with his quick thinking and crisp passing, and that reflected in their first goal in the 44th minute at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The Spanish veteran dashed his way up on the left flank to control a long diagonal pass and after advancing further turned around near the goalline to tap the ball onto the path of the advancing Kyogo Furuhashi who struck with a clean, low shot from close range.

Furuhashi's personal joy at scoring lasted only 10 minutes as the forward first conceded a corner and then watched in horror as his attempted clearance from the resultant kick found his own net to give Guangzhou the equalizer.

Cannavaro made three substitutions in a desperate bid for victory after having drawn their opening game against Suwon Samsung Bluewings. But although the two-time champions enjoyed a couple of brief purple patches during which they had the Kobe defence under pressure, the goal they were looking for never materialized.

Vissel Kobe regained the lead in the 74th minute when Douglas, who had just come in five minutes prior, took advantage of a great back-heel from Daigo Nishi and blasted the ball home.

Brazil-born Elekson, now known as Ai Kesen, had a goal disallowed for off-side on eight minutes and when Iniesta struck two minutes later, it extended Cannavaro's misery in Doha.

"The result is bad. We tried but I know that something in my team is not clear. I don't know if they are afraid to play or they are not confident anymore," the Italian complained after the match.

"I need to try and do my best to give them the confidence to play. This is my job. I know they are very good players, and we can do much, much, much better."

Vissel Kobe had landed in Doha after a string of disappointing results back home, conceding a whopping 58 goals in 33 league matches and losing five games in a row.

But their coach Atsuhiro Miura was basking in joy on Wednesday, saying he was ready with a game plan against a side packed with several Brazilians.

"Guangzhou is a very strong side, they have several good Brazilian players but we analysed how they play and how to prevent them from playing to their strengths," said Miura.

"We did everything well and everything went how we wanted it to. That's why we got this result."