Saudi Arabia’s first ever professional female golf tournament starts today. It takes place in King Abdullah Economic City where the stars of the Ladies European Tour are set to make golfing history this week. “I don’t really think of myself a trailblazer, I think I am doing my thing and trying to achieve my goals but if I can inspire the next generation of young girls and boys then that would make me happy,” says the first Arab professional female golfer, Moroccan Maha Haddioui. “I am really happy to be here in Saudi Arabia and play in a new event on the LET schedule. I am really pleased and proud to represent my region in my region. It’s a big tournament, a big statement, and it’s positive to see women’s golf get more recognition and the prize fund is a huge statement from Golf Saudi.”
Held at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, on the Red Sea Coast near Jeddah, seven days of elite-level women’s golf will see the hosting of two world-class debut tournaments: the US$1m Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund, which starts today until the 15th of November and the $500,000 Saudi Ladies Team International, which runs from November 17th to 19th.
“When I was younger I used to watch the Lalla Maryem Cup at home and it was important to see the players, see how they work, how they play and realize that they are human. Doing events like this and giving young people access to this is going to motivate them to take up the game,” comments Haddioui. “Saudi is opening up to the world of golf and it is going to help grow the game, which I am happy about.” To celebrate the historic nature of both tournaments, Golf Saudi will this week launch a world-first “Ladies First Club,” which will offer free golf to 1,000 women living across the Kingdom.
108 of the tour’s best golfers in the Kingdom include English duo Georgia Hall and Charley Hull – leading global players who have won multiple events across the world including teaming up for Solheim Cup success. “It’s massive for Saudi Arabia to have the first professional ladies’ event here,” says 24-year old Hall, a major winner at the 2018 AIG Women’s Open. “It’s actually rare to get a chance to come to a new country and play these days so it’s nice to get a chance to play somewhere different. Events like these can help grow the next generation of younger boys and girls here in Saudi Arabia and be inspired to get out and play.”