Golf in the UAE is shining brighter than it ever has. In the next four months, the country will host a number of prestigious tournaments including the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic, which has recently been elevated to Rolex Series status.
Of course, this is nothing new and has been the case for many years, so what makes 2021 so special? It comes in the form of the UAE playing host to two elite amateur events in the space of two weeks with the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific making their debuts in the UAE in November.
It’s a huge coup for the Emirates Golf Federation, who will host alongside Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and Abu Dhabi Golf Club respectively, as they continue their journey in celebrating Emirati and Arab golf in the region.
“Hosting these two ‘major’ Amateur Championships in the UAE is a great honour,” said Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation. “It will allow our golf clubs the opportunity to reveal the high standard of golf and leisure that we have. More importantly, it will enable the UAE players and the rest of the top Arab players the opportunity to showcase their talents.”
It means the likes of Ahmad Skaik, who has competed in a number of European Tour events and is the country’s No. 1 golfer, will get the opportunity once more to shine on a global stage thanks to the work that the EGF have put in over the years in growing the game within the Emirati community.
“Growing the game of golf in the Emirati community will always be at the top of our agenda. By having a dedicated operations and coaching staff we feel that we have the right pieces in place in order to continue the growth of the game. With the continued support of the world golf organisations, local partners and the UAE golf clubs, seeing a male or female Emirati golfer on a professional golf tour shouldn’t be out of reach in the near future.”
Meanwhile, the successful bid to host the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, which grants the champion invites to the 2022 Women’s Open, The Evian Championship and next year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur, is the next step in promoting the game to the female audience.
The EGF signed the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter in 2019 to show the commitment the country and the federation have to developing women’s golf. Since then, female participation has skyrocketed with clubs up and down the country adding LPGA professionals to their ever-growing teams in a bid to keep up with demand.
“Over the past three years, the EGF has hired a full-time Ladies National Team Coach (April Varney) and we have seen the Ladies Junior Programme and National Program triple in size,” said His Highness. “Our National Junior Development Program has been the pillar of success when it comes to initiatives. By working with the local golf clubs and the Ministry of Education we implemented golf as an everyday activity in Physical Education. Hosting the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship in the UAE will only continue to push our goals in the women’s game.”