Graduates of Golf Saudi’s Ladies First Club returned to Royal Greens two years on from taking their first steps in the game
(Jeddah): Six Saudi women made history last month when they took part in the 2023 Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by Public Investment Fund Pro-Am. For the last two years, each has been part of Golf Saudi’s Ladies First Club coaching programme before they had the chance to show their skills alongside some of the best players in the world.
Ladies First Club was announced in November 2020 during the inaugural Aramco Saudi Ladies International, the first major professional sporting event for women-only to take place in Saudi Arabia.
More than 1,000 women registered their intent to learn golf within the first few days of the initial announcement, and the graduates who took part in this year’s pro-am have been those most gripped by the golf bug since then.
As well as the six who competed in the pro-am, a further six attended to enjoy a wide programme of activities scheduled by Golf Saudi during the 2023 event. It was also the first year when the prize fund for the Aramco Saudi Ladies International matched its male equivalent, the PIF Saudi International Powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, at $5 million USD.
“I can’t quite believe we had the opportunity to play in the pro-am at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International and play with previous champion Georgia hall,” said Suad Alfaisal, Ladies First Club Member. “When the Ladies First Club was first announced, I was excited to try golf as I had heard it was a great way to relax and spend time with friends.
“I have loved every minute of my experience within the Ladies First Club and am so happy that I was given the chance to become a member. I loved playing besides the professionals and although it was nerve-wracking, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’m sure I’ll never forget.”
Over the past two years, the ladies have been coached at Riyadh Golf Club, Dirab Golf and Country Club and tournament host Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, in King Abdullah Economic City. Showing them the ropes have been a group of Golf Saudi coaches, who are just as delighted as the members themselves at the ladies’ development.
Ghozlene Saki, Ladies First Club Coach, said: “I’m so proud to see the progress all 12 of the members who joined us at Royal Greens and what they have achieved over the past two years. We are working hard to show people how much fun golf can be and that anyone can become a skilled player much quicker than they may think.
“These ladies have shown their dedication to the sport and are now reaping the rewards that being a golfer brings and have found a sport that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. I’m delighted to have played a small part in each of their journeys.”
Golf Saudi CEO, Noah Alireza, said: “Ladies First Club is one of the most ambitious and successful programmes of its kind we have ever seen in Saudi Arabia. It is the embodiment of the opportunities we are working hard to create for potential golfers of all ages and abilities all over the country.
“Golf Saudi is committed to increasing opportunities for people to experience everything that is great about this game. Not only does it promote a physical and mental wellbeing, but it has the ability to teach absolutely anyone about the virtues of patience and perseverance, something I’m sure each of the Ladies First Club members have experienced in abundance.
“I congratulate each of the 12 ladies who joined us at Royal Greens for continuing with their coaching since the programme was announced in 2020, and for developing to such a strong level so quickly. I wish them the very best of luck for the future.”