With the mantra of ‘catching them young’ at the core of their mission, a new and exciting initiative to develop golfers for the future in the UAE is fast coming to fruition with a promising pool of talent bubbling beneath the surface. Launched by golf in DUBAi in 2013 as part of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation’s ambitious drive to making golf a key component of Emirati school curriculum, the programme has made significant headway with Dubai’s Rashid School for Boys getting into the swing of things.
With tuitions provided by Grass Roots Golf, an independent academy based at Emirates Golf Club, the programme has seen almost 300 students complete an initial introduction to the game with opportunities thereafter to progress to more intensive training and, eventually, to represent Rashid School for Boys in competition against other schools.
Grass Roots Golf have already identified 20 students as having potential to take their game to the next level. Of these young Emiratis, three are set to receive an official handicap while the others are warming up for the par-3 events to hone their skills.
“It’s a gradual process and will take time, but it is also important we try and create an environment in which young Emiratis can grow, express themselves and realise their dream of representing their country one day,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, the promoters and organisers of world-class events like the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, the MENA Golf Tour and the DUBAi Open.
“Following the successful establishment of the MENA Golf Tour in 2011, we are pleased to be able to expand our goals and focus on juniors who are just beginning their golfing journey.
The programme, he said, is intended to making golf more fun for kids. “The more fun they have, the more chance they have to play the game for a lifetime,” he added.
“The UAE boasts some of the finest golfing facilities in the world and the interest in the game has skyrocketed over the years. With support from all schools, we aim to promote and develop the game at the grassroots level,” said
“I would like to thank Rashid School for Boys for welcoming our ideas and plans. With their support, I have no doubt it will be a success and we will be able to explore options at other schools.
Lauding the ‘golf in DUBAi’ support, Dean Winders, Head of Primary Physical Education, said: “The profile of golf has definitely been risen within our school.
“Initially, all children, aged between seven and 11, were given six one-hour sessions and we are excited to see some of these students play against 14 other schools in the Grass Roots Golf inter-school tournament, beginning in the Autumn term.
“Grass Roots, in my opinion, have the ideal model in place when introducing a new sport to a captive audience as their coaching style is outstanding. Their staff is not only known for their depth of knowledge but also has the ability to motivate and inspire students, setting them exciting and realistic goals.”
The next target, he said, is to create players who can compete at school level. “And, we are pleased to be in a position to execute this initiative.”