Since its formation in 1978, the Ladies European Tour (LET) has crowned more than 250 different winners from 28 different countries. The LET operates tournaments across six continents and will enter Saudi Arabia for the first time in October 2020 as the Inaugural Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund.
Headline players from the women’s game will compete for the first time in Saudi Arabia. As professional golf’s newest high-profile tournament, the event will take place in Royal Greens Golf & Country Club located on the Red Sea Coast in King Abdullah Economic City. The $1 million prize event is on track to take place from October 15 to 18 this year.
The event is a watershed moment for the country, and will mark the first time that professional female golfers have played competitively in the country, breaking new ground in its ongoing transformation as part of Vision 2030.
A field of 108 LET professionals will contest for one of the richest prizes on the LET Schedule at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, near Jeddah, on the country’s stunning Red Sea coast.
“I am incredibly excited by this announcement and it is an honour for the Tour to be part of history in bringing the first-ever professional women’s golf event to Saudi Arabia,” said Ladies European Tour, CEO, Alexandra Armas. “Confirmation of adding Saudi Arabia to our schedule for 2020 is an exciting prospect for everyone at the Ladies European Tour and having seen the quality of the event staging for the Saudi International, I am sure this will be a fantastic experience for our players.”
As well as confirming the historic tournament, Golf Saudi announced it is working with several LET stars in order to promote golf to domestic audiences and to enhance the visibility of Saudi’s golf development programme and its golf tourism offer internationally.
Meanwhile, all nationwide golf courses resumed play in late June this year following government guidance, the Saudi Golf Federation (SGF) has confirmed. There are strict health and safety guidelines and precautionary measures that golf clubs must adhere to. As part of these new measures, golfers must pre-book their round in advance, and wear masks upon arrival. Temperature checks will also be conducted on arrival for all members and anyone showing signs of illness will be asked to leave the course.
Commenting on the measures put in place to ensure golf’s safe return in Saudi Arabia, Majed Al Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation, said: “It is great news that we are now in a position to reintroduce the game we all love across the Kingdom, in line with the latest government regulations. As one of the sports which can be played safely during this period, we urge everyone to be respectful of the phased approach taken by the Saudi Golf Federation.”
Al Sorour continued: “We will continuously monitor the situation both in the Kingdom, and across the world and we have not ruled out the reintroduction of further restrictions if the guidelines are not followed correctly. It is therefore imperative that both golf clubs and members take the necessary steps and adhere to guidelines, if facilities are to remain open in the weeks ahead.”
Additional restrictions designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 include the use of physical distancing, with members keeping at least two metres apart from each other at all times. Golf carts will only be permitted to be used by one golfer and concierge services will also be closed, meaning players will need to carry their bags to and from their own vehicles. To prevent overcrowding on all courses, tee times have been extended to 14-minute intervals, with a maximum of three players per slot. This gap will not be altered for one or two balls. Restaurants and cafeterias will remain closed for seating, with takeaway orders possible via the on-course cart or telephone order. For payments, only contactless or card payments will be accepted. Shower and locker facilities will also remain closed.
“Thankfully, all of our clubs have had the experience and skills to remain calm and continue their preparations unheeded, without knowing exactly when golf would be able to safely return. We will continue to remain in regular dialogue with the government, updating golf facilities and players on changes to regulations and procedures as restrictions across the Kingdom continue to lift. Given the continuous change in restrictions, there may be a requirement for the Saudi Golf Federation to update and reissue guidelines at regular intervals to reflect government and global advice.”
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