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.”


Man United beats Chelsea 2-0, throws open race for Champions League spots

Updated 18 February 2020

Man United beats Chelsea 2-0, throws open race for Champions League spots

  • Headers by Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire ensured the win

LONDON: Manchester United threw open the race for the final Champions League qualification spots in the Premier League by beating fourth-place Chelsea 2-0 thanks to headers by Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire on Monday.
With 12 games remaining, seven points separate Chelsea and 11th-place Burnley, with the team finishing fifth also set to earn a place in next season’s Champions League following UEFA’s decision to punish Man City for serious breaches of financial regulations by handing the English champions a two-year European ban.
Martial glanced in a header off a right-wing cross by Aaron Wan-Bissaka to give United the lead in the 45th minute at Stamford Bridge, before Maguire planted home a corner from January signing Bruno Fernandes in the 66th.
Maguire, United’s captain, was perhaps fortunate to still be on the field, with the match officials opting not to punish the England defender for appearing to kick out at Michy Batshuayi after tumbling off the playing surface in front of the dugouts.
“I know I caught him but I felt like he was going to fall on me and the natural reaction was to straighten my leg so that if he was to fall on me, to hold him up,” Maguire said. “It probably looks worse than it was.
“I did catch him ... but I knew at the time I had no intent to hurt him or kick him.”
Chelsea was on the wrong end of two other decisions by VAR, firstly disallowing a volleyed goal by Kurt Zouma in the 56th because of a push by Cesar Azpilicueta on United left back Brandon Williams. Azpilicueta seemed to have been pushed a split-second earlier by Fred.
Then, with 13 minutes to go, substitute Olivier Giroud had a goal ruled out by VAR for a tight offside, leaving Chelsea manager Frank Lampard looking thoroughly glum as he sat in his technical area.
Chelsea has long been in fourth place, but has only won three of its last 11 games in the league to give a slew of rivals clubs hope of catching up.
One of them is United, which climbed to seventh place with this win — three points behind Chelsea and two adrift of fifth-place Tottenham.
“This season, we have been far too inconsistent,” Maguire said. “We have won at Manchester City, beat Chelsea at home, got a point against Liverpool, but we have let ourselves down against the teams where the pressure is on to break them down.”
Injury problems are starting to bite at Chelsea, too. Top scorer Tammy Abraham and winger Callum Hudson-Odoi missed the game because of injury, while central midfielder N’Golo Kante lasted 11 minutes before hobbling off. Center back Andreas Christensen didn’t come out for the second half after sustaining a knock to the head late in the first period, just before Martial beat the Denmark defender to a header for the first goal.
Lampard’s main gripe, though, was his team’s failure to finish off chances once again. Batshuayi was the biggest culprit, spurning two great chances in the first half in his first start in the league this season.
“We are fourth because of some of the good stuff we’ve done and because of the nature of the league, everyone taking points off each other,” Lampard said. “But there’s a lot of work to do because you can see the problem — that’s putting the ball in the back of the net.
“I feel like a broken record. We have to put things to bed by scoring goals.”
Chelsea hosts Tottenham on Saturday and would finally get overtaken with another loss.
“The season starts here,” Lampard said.
Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo, who signed for United on deadline day in the January transfer window, came on in second-half stoppage time for his debut and had a late chance saved by Willy Caballero, who again started in goal ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Two players struck the post from free kicks in the second half, Fernandes for United and Mason Mount for Chelsea.