Saudi Arabia’s commitment to golf growth reaffirmed at sport summit

The inaugural Golf Saudi Summit ended on Tuesday. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 04 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to golf growth reaffirmed at sport summit

  • It has been fantastic to have so many of the industry’s leading figureheads attend the inaugural Golf Saudi Summit

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.


Lewis Hamilton on top as Mercedes dominate Formula One opening practice

Updated 03 July 2020

Lewis Hamilton on top as Mercedes dominate Formula One opening practice

  • Lewis Hamilton tops times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at season-opening Austrian Grand Prix

SPIELBERG, Austria: Defending six-time champion Lewis Hamilton topped the times ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Formula One roared back at Friday’s opening practice at the belated and surreal season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Three months after the cancelation of the original campaign starter in Australia and six months on from the last race meeting, it was business as usual for the dominant black arrows with Max Verstappen third for Red Bull ahead of McLaren’s Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.
After a slow start on a damp surface at the Red Bull Ring, following overnight rain, Hamilton, sporting a new Black Lives Matter helmet to match his black race suit, was on the pace immediately in his W11 car of the same color, repainted from silver this year to support equality and diversity.
It was as if the lengthy delay created by the COVID-19 pandemic had no effect on the teams, cars and drivers other than Ferrari whose new SF91 machine was, as forecast, unable to match the pace set at the front by Mercedes.
Ferrari plan to revise their car with updates for the Hungarian race in two weeks’ time following the second event in Austria next week.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who is set to leave the outfit at the end of the year, struggled to 12th, two places behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, in the eerie surroundings of the fan-less circuit in the Styrian Alps where pit-stops were curiously controlled with all the mechanics in masks and protective gear.
In mild weather conditions, with track temperatures measured at 22 degrees Celsius compared to 57 degrees for last year’s race, Mercedes had no cooling problems as Hamilton outpaced Bottas by three-tenths and was six-tenths clear of Verstappen.
Sergio Perez was fifth in Racing Point’s ‘pink Mercedes’ ahead of Lando Norris in the second McLaren, Alex Albon in the other Red Bull and McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo of Renault. Kevin Magnussen was ninth for Haas.
The session saw Verstappen recover from a spin at Turn One and Daniil Kvyat of Alpha Tauri run off at the final corner, causing Williams’ George Russell to take dramatic avoiding action while Romain Grosjean was stuck in the Haas garage with brake problems throughout the session.