Arab golf to get a boost

Arab golf to get a boost
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Published November 16th, 2016 - 17:47 GMT via

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Arab Golf Federation logo
Arab Golf Federation logo

The constant endeavour of the Arab Golf Federation (AGF) to raise the standard of the game among Arab golfers is set to get a major boost when a new tournament, based on the Ryder Cup format, will be held by the end of next year between the AGF and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC).

Talks have made progress between the two federations and according to Adel al Zarouni, the AGF secretary general, the new tournament is sure to boost the profile of the game and help the Arab golfers.

In an exclusive chat with Muscat Daily recently during the sidelines of the 36th Arab Golf Championship, which was organised by the Oman Golf Committee (OGC) at the Ghala Golf Club, Zarouni said, “We are in a steady pursuit to improve the standard of Arab golfers, who still have a long way to go to match even the standards of Asia-Pacific players.

“And to enhance their playing standards, we had mooted a proposal some time back to host a new tournament, similar to Ryder Cup, where the best Arab amateur players can meet the best golfers from the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.

Talks have made good headway and we are in the final stages of scheduling the tournament, which is likely to be held by the end of next year,” said Zarouni, who is based in UAE.

Zarouni said, “We have yet to decide the name of the championship but we will not keep it in the name of an individual or a company.” It may be mentioned that the prestigious Ryder Cup is a tournament played between the US and Europe teams every two years featuring the world’s best players.

“Some of the Asia-Pacific golfers from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Japan and India are playing at top level. When our players take on them, it will certainly have a positive impact. It will improve our players' game,” he said.

The APGC currently organises a tournament between its amateurs and Europe for Bonallack Trophy.

Zarouni, who has been at the helm for the past eight years, said that Arab golf is on the right track as focus has shifted towards youth development programmes. “We have already started Arab championships for youth and also have a tournament for girls. The 36th edition of the Arab championship in Muscat featured quite a few youth team players from many nations and this has made the competition stronger,” he said.

Zarouni praised the OGC for its pro-active approach and said that Arab countries should take a cue from Oman on how to promote golf and develop young players.

“I am impressed with the OGC efforts under its chief Mundhir al Barwani and its vice-chairman Ahmed al Jhdhamy. Oman golf is an example for many nations in the region and we are proud of their support to Arab golf,” said Zarouni.

“The OGC had initiated the idea to host the GCC U15 Championship last year. Similar programmes for youth are the core of developing the game in any country. The successful hosting of 36th Arab meet is yet another feather in OGC’s cap.”

On the future of the Arab golf, Zarouni said 'it is important for all the participating members to play an active role' to promote the game.

“Countries like Morocco, Tunisia, UAE and Oman have been in the forefront but we needed a concerted effort by all members. Frankly, our golfers are way behind at international level,” he said.

“We are a 14-nation federation. It takes time to develop and promote the sport. One cannot achieve success overnight. The AGF now has a proper calendar and structure. Arab golfers need to change their mindset. They should have more hunger to excel. Only then can they fight with the rest of golfers,” he said.

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