Education City Golf Club’s community-inspired programs support the development of the sport
The Education City Golf Club – which, for the first time ever, will host the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters next month – has placed the community at the heart of its activities in a bid to help grow the game of golf at grassroots level in Qatar.
Our number one challenge is reaching out to the community to make people aware that golf exists.
“Although golf has been played here for a number of years, it’s not in the mainstream,” explains Michael Braidwood, the club’s General Manager. “Football or handball often take the glory. So our number one challenge is reaching out to the community to make people aware that golf exists.
“Golf is a sport, which a lot of people don’t actually realize – it’s good for your health. Unfortunately, it comes with a lot of preconceived misconceptions. And what we are trying to do at the Education City Golf Club is to make golf more accessible – we’re really trying to break down barriers.”
The sporting facility – a member of Qatar Foundation – is located in Education City and is set against the backdrop of West Bay skyscrapers and minarets. Home to an 18-hole championship course, a nine-hole par three course, and a six-hole championship course, it has been designed so that anyone, of any age and ability level, can play, from professionals to complete novices.
It also features a state-of-the-art Center of Excellence, a putting green, and a driving range that makes use of the TrackMan App, which – fully integrated into the whole driving range – provides instant feedback to players. And not only does this allow for experienced visitors to improve their game, but, boasting games such as Bullseye, Hit-It, and Capture the Flag, it enables friends to challenge each other in a fun and engaging manner.
“The TrackMan creates an environment that is almost like a golf bowling alley where you can create different games, and no matter what your golfing ability is, you can participate in these games and have fun with your friends,” explains Mr. Braidwood.
“Today, people are attached to their electronic devices, and parents in particular are sensitive to the amount of screen time their children are exposed to. So why not get them outside in the fresh air, doing an active sport while still using a device? It's a win-win situation.
Ultimately, what we're trying to do here is create different products for different demographics. So there's something for everyone.
“In the evenings, we play background music, creating an atmosphere down here. If we can get groups of friends coming down here and hitting some balls, that’s great – it doesn't necessarily mean they have to become dedicated golfers. It's about getting people to become more active. And why not at the driving range, why not at the putting green?
“Ultimately, what we're trying to do here is create different products for different demographics. So there's something for everyone.”
A key objective of the club’s community outreach program is promoting the sport among children. And through a series of initiatives, including hosting activities and competitions on site as well as going into schools, the club aims to help empower the next generation of golfers.
“We go out to schools, but we also have our own junior programs where kids sign up and come at different times of the week to learn how to play golf, and often that is where the parent is already active in golf,” says Mr. Braidwood.
Golf is a brilliant sport for children because it teaches patience, it teaches participants to be persistent, to concentrate, and it introduces discipline and time management skills.
“The school outreach program targets children who come from families with no history of golf. Bearing in mind that the majority of the population here comes from countries where golf is not a mainstream sport. So they are getting to touch and feel golf within the school gymnasium for the first time.
“Golf is a brilliant sport for children because it teaches patience, it teaches participants to be persistent, to concentrate, and it introduces discipline and time management skills. It's a great sport for youngsters as it comes with a whole set of sub rules of etiquette and conduct. So if young people play golf, they end up with some really good life values”
Ultimately, Michael emphasizes, golf is for everyone. “Golf is a very good sport for health and wellbeing. It is a low impact sport, and it is a sport you can play from a young age – starting from 2-3 years old – for the rest of your life.”
The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 2020 will be held at the Education City Golf Club from March 5-8. For more information about the club, visit www.ecgolf.com.