Ernie Els, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and stars of the LET on hand for historic weekend at Saudi Arabia’s first championship golfing destination
Saudi Arabia European Tour Venue Opens
World golf’s newest championship venue, Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, celebrated its official Grand Opening over an action-packed weekend, as golfing stars, celebrities and senior members of the Saudi Government congregated to mark the historic occasion.
Four-time Major winner and President’s Cup Captain, Ernie Els, was joined by European Tour winner, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, to witness the first tee shot over the spectacular European Golf Design, par-72 layout, struck by His Excellency Yasir Bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, President of the Saudi Golf Federation.
He was closely followed by European Tour Chief Executive, Keith Pelley, Els and Johnston themselves, and Ladies European Tour players Amy Boulden, Camilla Lennarth and Maha Haddioui in taking to the first tee for the very first time.
During an action-packed weekend, the professionals were joined by Othman Almulla, a prominent member of the Saudi National Team and Claude Harmon III, one of the world’s leading coaches. Together, the group delivered clinics for beginner golfers and were treated to a taste of both traditional and modern Saudi culture at a grand gala dinner, where they were greeted by Saudi ardha dancers.
After the Grand Opening Exhibition Match, in which Ernie Els and Haddioui were narrowly defeated by Almulla and Boulden in a fun three-hole scramble, the South African Hall-of-Famer, said: “The opening of Royal Greens Golf and Country Club is a landmark moment for golf in Saudi Arabia. This golf course is spectacular and, with its setting upon a stretch of pristine Red Sea coastline, I’m sure it will quickly become one of the most recognisable and most popular destinations on any worldwide tour.”
Royal Greens has been chosen by the Saudi Golf Federation to host Saudi Arabia’s first ever European Tour event, which will welcome the great and good of the game in January 2019. The Federation announced the event at the Grand Opening and confirmed the participation of top players, including: World No.1, Dustin Johnson; Masters Champion, Patrick Reed; Ryder Cup Captain, Thomas Bjorn; and World No.13, Paul Casey.
Home to a state-of-the-art Golf Academy and extensive long and short-game practice areas, Royal Greens also cemented its status as a pillar of the sport’s development in the country with the signing of an MOU with the Saudi Arabian Golf Federation. This agreement will see Royal Greens and master developer Emaar the Economic City work with the Federation to attract more novice players to the game, support the elite National Team via access to its outstanding facilities as Saudi’s flagship golfing destination and consult on the development of new golfing facilities in The Kingdom.
“The Grand Opening of Royal Greens Golf and Country Club signals the beginning of a new era for golf in Saudi Arabia and we are delighted to introduce it to the world,” said Fahd Al-Rasheed, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Emaar the Economic City (EEC), the master developer of King Abdullah Economic City in which the club is located. “This facility will be regarded amongst golf’s very best, and will become a launch pad for the next generation of Saudi golfers looking to make their mark in the game.”
Managed by Troon, Royal Greens Golf and Country Club is undoubtedly one of the most impressive facilities in golf, both on and of the course, boasting an impressive 9,820m sq clubhouse, including ballroom, health club and award-winning spa, as well as fine dining restaurants and an elegant tea room.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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