JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced a sporting initiative that will allow women to take up the game of golf expense-free.
To be launched at next month’s debut Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund, Golf Saudi’s innovative ‘Ladies First Club’ will offer a complimentary membership inclusive of golf lessons, driving range access and full 18-hole rounds on three different courses.
It will be open to all Saudi women, with initial membership capped at 1,000 registrants.
All players signed-up to the scheme will be designated as a Ladies First Member at either Riyadh Golf Club, Dirab Golf Club or King Abdullah Economic City’s (KAEC) Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, depending on their location.
The membership will include a digital ‘Introduction to Golf’ education pack, which will provide monthly seminars outlining the key aspects of golf for beginners. Each of the three golf courses will also 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 a chance to play an 18-hole round.
Full range access will then remain available to all members of the club, with the program’s top 12 performers being offered a full, year-round membership at their course of choice.
Majed Al Sorour, CEO of Golf Saudi, said: “The Ladies First Club will be a club like no other. It is our most exciting initiative yet aimed at developing the great game of golf across Saudi Arabia and is the ideal way to celebrate the historic nature of the Kingdom’s first ever women’s golf tournament, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund.
Sorour continued: “Golf is growing in Saudi Arabia and we remain committed to our targets. We are already seeing a steady rise in interest from women golfers and we hope the Ladies First Club will help us reach that next level.”
Off course, the Ladies First Club will include a range of additional social opportunities too, including invites to social mornings with the likes of Pilates, yoga, bridge and other social and wellbeing activities.
All registrants will also receive member discounts across all three golf clubs’ restaurants and shops and will receive access to discounted full membership options on completion of the program.
Maha Haddioui is the first and only Arab woman golfer to play on the Ladies European Tour to date. She will be taking part in both of next month’s Saudi events.
She said: “Any way of making it easier to get women out playing golf has my backing — and the scheme that Golf Saudi have created with the Ladies First Club is a fantastic idea. From my experience, there is no better way of opening the sport up to new golfers than making it fun, inclusive and social. This initiative is each of those things.”
Amateur golfer Sara Salhab, 27, regularly plays golf with friends at Dirab Golf Club, having played the sport since she was young.
She said: “The Ladies First Club is a great idea because it’s creating a platform to take women’s golf to the next level, by giving the required professional help and building a community that will allow players to flourish, so I think it’s great.
“Golf is a very nice sport that works both your mind and your body — and you’re outdoors in greenery, which is great, especially here. I really enjoy it. More women should play because it is very healthy, you get to be outdoors and it’s a social activity that — with the Ladies First Club — is more accessible than ever.”
The Ladies First Club will officially launch during tournament build-up week for the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund, which takes place 12th-15th November — two days before the Saudi Ladies Team International, which will see teams of four golfers compete together for a share of $500,000 prize money, 17th-19th November.
Women looking to register for the Club will be able to do so via the Golf Saudi website from the week the historic events get underway.
For more information about the Ladies First Club, Golf Saudi and both the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF and the Saudi Ladies Team International, visit: www.golfsaudi.com/en-us/ladies-international