Saudi Arabia recently hosted their first ever Ladies Golf Tournament and they invited me along to take part! It was an honour to be involved in this historic event for Saudi Arabia and for women’s golf.
Two back-to-back tournaments took place – the Saudi Ladies International and the Saudi Ladies Team International. With a prize fund of $1 million the event is one of the biggest on the Ladies European Tour. This event is a huge step in the right direction for women’s golf and a triumph for the equality movement within sport. Golf Saudi’s efforts are helping to increase interest in women’s golf and to inspire the next generation of young female golfers. These goals resonate greatly with me, so it was a pleasure to be a part of this initiative.
The tournaments took place at the gorgeous Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, which is the same venue that the Saudi International was played at in February earlier this year. I really enjoyed playing this course; it is challenging, yet fun, with some great birdie opportunities. Not to mention the gorgeous views of the Red Sea on the 16th hole which have featured heavily in all my pictures!
My week kicked off with the Pro-Am for the Saudi Ladies International. I was lucky enough to play with two professionals – the outrageously impressive Anne Van Dam, and the equally delightful Amy Boulden. It was an honour to play with them both and we had a fantastic day.
The winner of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International was decided by an exciting play off between Georgia Hall and Emily Kristine Pederson. The 18th hole at Royal Greens is a 520 yard Par-5. It’s a challenging finishing hole which offers the temptation to go for the green in two. However, there is a lake which extends from the left hand of the fairway and wraps around the green. Georgia unfortunately hit her second shot into the water leaving a big opportunity for Emily. Emily rose to the challenge and hit a seriously impressive fairway wood just off the back of the green and made the up and down to secure a birdie and win the tournament. This was a well deserved win for Emily who had played fantastic golf all week.
The second tournament was a team event. The playing format had never been seen before on the Ladies European tour; 4 players per team, 3 professionals and 1 amateur. 36 team captains recruited their players using a live NFL-style draft system. The best two scores of each team counted. An individual stroke play for the professionals ran through the competition as well.
As an amateur golfer it was an awesome experience to play in a competitive format with professional players. The players also seemed to welcome this change of format which added something completely different to their playing season. I think that this unique team format will become increasingly popular.
This was a special event for Saudi Arabia and marked the start of an initiative to make golf more accessible within the country and in particular for Saudi women. I’m excited by Golf Saudi’s efforts not only to grow the game of golf in their own country but also to make a positive global impact on the profile of the sport. I’m looking forward to returning to Saudi and watching golf in the Kingdom develop further!
BEHIND THE SCENES FOOTAGE:
During my final round of the Saudi Ladies Team’s International I managed to capture some videos of my day. I have shared this behind the scenes footage on my YouTube channel: @bellaangelgolf and you can check the video out here!
I hope you enjoy the video and make sure you subscribe to my channel whilst you’re there!