The AlTelmissani family of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) all play golf – and hope their love for the game will inspire others to pick up a club

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: It’s not every day you’re invited to represent your country in international sporting competition.

And that proved to be the case for the AlTelmissani family of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), because three of them – mum Raghdah AlEssawi and children Layla, 16, and Omar, 11 – received the call to do just that on the very same day!

The talented trio were all part of the Saudi Golf Federation national team sent to compete at the Pan Arabia Golf Championship in Egypt earlier last year – an honour particularly notable as it made the mother-and-daughter pair the first Saudi women to ever compete on behalf of the Kingdom in an international golf tournament.

“I really feel so proud that Layla and I were two of the first women to represent Saudi internationally at golf,” said Raghdah, a schoolteacher who only started playing golf at KAEC’s Royal Greens Golf & Country Club – the host course for next weekend’s Saudi International – a year ago.

“At this moment in time there’s not many people, especially ladies, who play golf or even try playing golf in Saudi. But it is such an easy sport to get hooked on. It’s a great family activity and it really does have no age – anyone can start playing golf.

“Egypt was our very first competition. Omar played in the Saudi under-13 team, while Layla and I played in Saudi’s first ever Ladies’ Team. We were still so new to the game at that point, but it was a great experience, with everyone so supportive and people proud of us representing Saudi at that level.

“I can only see a very bright future for golf here in the Kingdom, and I hope people get motivated to give it a try by seeing these types of opportunities that come through golf.”

Under the grand ambitions of Vision 2030, Golf Saudi – the sport’s governing body – is looking to drive one million Saudis to try golf for the first time over the next ten years. The aim is to grow the game on such a vast scale that by 2030, 50% of the population will have access to golf facilities within an hour’s drive of their home.

Immensely popular on a global scale, golf is considered a strong platform for the Kingdom to promote its sporting vision, ambition and its many social and economic opportunities – all of which will be showcased in earnest next weekend when the $3.5million-prize purse Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers brings the world’s best golfers back to compete in the tournament’s second annual edition.

But to the AlTelmissani’s, golf is about something far simpler: the enjoyment that comes from playing the game.

Husband and father Mohammed AlTelmissani said: “For me, what I love about golf is just the time it gives me to spend with my family. We are out on the golf course, mobile phones are away, and it’s just great time together. We talk and have fun. That quality, family time is the major attraction to me. On top of that, it’s played in a beautiful location and is an enjoyable challenge.

“The kids love sports – with Layla very good at basketball, badminton, gymnastics and volleyball. We thought golf would be a good next thing for them to try. After our initial coaching, we were all hooked, and the kids started to play almost every day. Now, when we jokingly say to them ‘No more golf for today’, they beg us to keep playing! They really love it.”

Mohammed continued: “We see huge potential in this game in Saudi Arabia right now. The government is taking care of it and it is part of Vision 2030 – the Crown Prince is taking good care of all sports in all aspects.

“Golf really is absolutely new here. Even when I try and describe it to friends or say I’m going out to play golf, they confuse it with other sports – mimicking the action of grass bowls, for example. That shows the little level of understanding and awareness there is for the game here.

“But I can only see that changing and golf growing here. Over the last year, we have seen so many new people travelling from across the Kingdom to come and play here in KAEC. Now, we see many of those people here regularly. That is a very good and clear indication that the sport of golf is starting to get into our culture. A golf community exists here, and there’s a lot of motivation in that.

“There are some really great players here in Saudi Arabia now. I’m very excited to see where golf could take Layla, Omar and my wife in the coming years.”

For daughter Layla, her goal in the game is already crystal clear.

“My dream is to become the first Saudi woman professional,” said the 16-year-old, who last week was inches away from a hole-in-one on Royal Greens’ most famous hole, the par three 16th – where tournament champion Dustin Johnson landed in the water in his final round last year.

“Golf is very stress relieving. Being out on the course takes you to this whole different environment, and I like that.

“I’ve been playing golf for around a year now. I play a lot of other sports, and golf was a suggestion my mum made as something else I could try. So I did, and ended up liking it.

“It gives you a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. I am happy when I’m out on the course playing – I love it. Of all the sports I play, golf is my favourite, definitely.”

For young brother Omar, it’s all about trying to hit the ball as far as he possibly can.

“Golf is really fun to play,” he said. “It’s exciting hitting a good shot.”

The family are an example of a growing number of families who both are and will be backed by Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation to take to the course. Mass participation is one of the key pillars for growing the game in the Kingdom, with Golf Saudi aiming to introduce and educate as many Saudis as possible to golf.

HRH Prince Khaled AlFaisal from both Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation said: “It has been a real pleasure for us seeing how Mohammed, Raghdah, Layla and Omar have all taken to the game of golf. They are a joy to have around the clubhouse at Royal Greens and are really developing as players.

“There is so much joy to be had from playing this great game, and we see it as having a tremendously bright future across the Kingdom. At Golf Saudi we are committed to the five pillars we consider central to growing golf in Saudi Arabia: developing access and infrastructure, nurturing talent through golf academies, promoting mass participation, hosting world class events and bringing international players of all abilities here as a means of golf tourism.

“We are early in this journey, but just like the AlTelmissani family – our opportunities in this sport are endless.”

Next on the family’s calendar is a visit to the second Saudi International, taking place January 30th through February 2nd.

With less than two weeks until the tournament begins, visitors are being advised to start planning their trip to what promises to be ‘The Ultimate Day Out’.

A total 132 players will descend on the stunning King Abdullah Economic City’s Royal Greens Golf & Country Club at the end of the month, where ticketholders can watch them live across the golf course. There will also be an action-packed Entertainment Zone packed with foodtrucks, E-Sports gaming and fun for children of all ages.

Post-golf concerts will see Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams, Belgian born DJ duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Grammy Award–winning DJ Zedd, flamenco favourites the Gipsy Kings and Puerto Rican music sensation Luis Fonsi – the man behind global megahit ‘Despacito’ – all take to the stage across tournament weekend.

Partner support as the tournament heads into its second year remains as strong as ever, with SoftBank Investment Advisers, Saudi Aramco, Public Investment Fund, Saudia, SAMBA, Rolex, Saddik & Mohamed Attar, GIB, STC, Saudi Cargo, UMA Premium, Invest Saudi, Xerox, Mix FM, Al Arabiya, Nespresso and Evian all powering the event.

Tickets are now on sale, priced at 50 SAR per day or 160 SAR for a full tournament pass (four days). Exclusive concert tickets will be available soon.

For more tournament information, visit 


For further information contact:
Euan McLelland  

Omar Batterjee  

About Golf Saudi

Golf Saudi has been conceived to drive participation in Saudi Arabian golf through the delivery of world-class facilities, operational excellence and the implementation of best practices. Partnering with industry leaders from around the world, Golf Saudi will take advantage of the wider commercial opportunities the sport provides to champion the game within the Kingdom, harness the talent of its people and create a thriving programme that establishes Saudi Arabia as a leader on the global stage.

About the Saudi Golf Federation

The Saudi Golf Federation (SGF) is committed to transforming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a leading nation within the sport – providing a governance and education strategy that inspires people to take up the game. Based in Riyadh and a full member of the Council of National Golf Unions, the SGF aims to deliver a comprehensive national team development programme, centrally managed handicapping system and tournament opportunities for amateurs on both a local and national level that drive interest and participation across the Kingdom.

About King Abdullah Economic City

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is the largest privately funded new city in the world. Situated on the west coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KAEC covers an area of 181 square kilometers of land, approximately the size of Washington DC. KAEC comprises King Abdullah Port, the Coastal Communities residential districts, the Haramain Railway district and the Industrial Valley. The city is under development by Emaar, The Economic City, a publicly listed Saudi joint-stock company established in 2006.

About Royal Greens Golf and Country Club 

Royal Greens Golf & Country Club is an exclusive, first-class golfing experience set within King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. The beautiful beachside 18-hole championship golf course, designed by European Golf Design, offers an unparalleled golfing experience. The majestic clubhouse boasts a panoramic view of the Red Sea and offers an exclusive members area with private dining, a board room, cigar room, library, executive business center and other luxury amenities. With its state-of-the-art practice facilities, Golf Academy, Spa and array of fine dining options, Royal Greens is set to become one of the region's finest sports and leisure destinations. 

About The European Tour

The European Tour is ‘Driving Golf Further’ through our guiding principles of being innovative, inclusive and global.

Innovative: The European Tour is driving innovation in golf through the creation of award-winning content, pioneering tournament formats such as GolfSixes and the use of the latest technology and inventive fan engagement. We have recognised the need for golf to modernise for future fans and we are committed to engaging new audiences whilst respecting the tradition of our sport.

Inclusive: We are committed to include all who share a love for the game of golf. We are passionate about a closer collaboration with the women’s game, disability golf and promoting the health benefits of playing golf.  

Global: We are golf’s global Tour with our 2019 International Schedule comprising a minimum of 47 tournaments in 31 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai. Since the European Tour was formed in 1972, players from 36 different countries have won tournaments, while our live broadcast reaches more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. We also enjoy the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Callaway, DP World, Dubai Duty Free, Emirates, Hilton and Workday as Official Partners.

The European Tour also manages the developmental Challenge Tour and the Staysure Tour (formerly known as the Senior Tour) which is the men’s professional golf tour for members aged 50 and older.

The European Tour is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup.

© Press Release 2020

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