The region’s potential ‘stars of tomorrow’ will provide a snapshot of development of golf at the grassroots level when the second edition of the GCC Under-15 Golf Championship gets under way at Dubai Creek Golf Club from March 19 to 21.
Bubbling with enthusiasm, teams from all Gulf Cooperation Council states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE – will hit the fairways, hoping to produce their own storybook finishes.
Local knowledge could come in handy for hosts UAE as they will be targeting a crack at the gross championship after winning the net title in the inaugural edition of the event held at Ghala Golf Club in Muscat in 2014, beating their neatest challengers Saudi Arabia.
Riding a consistent performance from Rashad Al Harthy, Fahad Al Kitani and Fahad Al Mahrouqi, Oman emerged victorious in the gross division last year with a tally of 348, well ahead of Kuwait (357) and Qatar (367).
Competition in the individual category, however, had produced a close affair with Saudi Arabia’s Saud Al Sherif taking the title with a creditable 168, just one ahead of Oman’s Fahad al Kitani.
The UAE team, comprising Mohammed Al Hajeri, Mahmood Skaik and Khalil Kashwani, is working hard under the watchful eyes of the National Team coach, Greg Holmes, to ensure they are on top of their game when the action gets under way later this month.
“This is a new tournament and we are looking forward to making a fresh start. Our goal is to help the players achieve their fullest potential within a successful team environment,” said Homes, adding: “All members of the team are pretty much familiar with the course at the Creek and we are confident that the team will put up a creditable performance.”
Commented Khalid Mubarak Al Shamshi, Secretary-general of the Emirates Golf Federation and team manager: “The tournament will be a good learning curve for the UAE team as the standard of Arab junior golf has gone up over the years and we expect a close contest.
“Events like this play a great role in cementing sporting links between Arab countries and there is always a good camaraderie as players compete in a healthy environment. On behalf of the federation, I would like to thank all the teams for their participation and hope to see some good contest out there,” he said.
“We firmly believe the way forward is to invest at the grassroots level. We can only build a strong foundation of golf if our youngsters are exposed to competitive environment at an early age. This under-15 tournament is the right platform for the emerging talent to get to their full potential,” he added.
Organised by Emirates Golf Federation, under the patronage of H.E. Shaikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the GCC Under-15 Championship is supported by General Authority of Youth and Sport Welfare, Golf in Dubai, Ascorp Holding, Hyatt Regency, Rivoli, Esnaad, Middle East Fuji LLC, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.
Written by: Golf in Dubai
Published by: Emirates Golf Federation