We found out how the ladies can get driving and putting
Dubai, with world-class golf courses, is a destination for top players, most of them men until now... Benita Adesuyan checks out classes for women
You might not know the names of the top female golfers in the world, and their faces may not be on every billboard and magazine cover the way the men of the sport are, but since the Omega Dubai Masters first came to Dubai in 2006, women in the emirate have been inspired to pick up their nine irons and are flocking to the city’s ten golf clubs to tee off.
With more high-profile events and the Ladies Open having taken place on December 14, at The Track Meydan, new classes aimed at women are springing up around the city, to teach the fairer sex how to excel in this male-dominated sport. Sandra Meyer, founder of Women’s Golf Middle East, an organisation with the sole aim to get more women into the game, talks to Time Out about her mission to get more ladies on the fairways of Dubai.
What is the difference between men’s and women’s golf? The only difference is that the women’s game is not as powerful. Women physically don’t hit as far as men so the golf courses are designed longer for men than women. But the standard in the ladies’ game, if you don’t take physicality into account, is just as high as the men’s game. If you look at the results on the US tour and the PGA the scores are fantastic.
What do your classes for ladies involve? We work a lot on technique and course familiarisation. Some ladies are used to being on the drive but are not so confident on the golf course so it’s important to learn about pace, which is learning to play within a certain time frame. It’s quite difficult for novices, because as a beginner you’ll be taking a lot more shots than everyone else. We teach etiquette of the game, such as safety and moving around the course, and course management – learning what clubs to use, what shot to play in certain scenarios. Every Tuesday, I run a nine and 18-hole academy at different golf courses around the UAE, and I train them to get their handicap and develop as players. Women come with their friends, and have a group session.
Golf can often appear very expensive, which puts newcomers off. You don’t need a lot of money to get involved with this sport. There are good offers and a lot of the courses have a good deal with the green fees. In Dubai, we’re very fortunate there are a lot of top quality facilities, and you don’t necessarily have to be a member of a club to take part. You don’t need equipment to start because all the equipment is provided, and many programmes allow you to use the facilities and driving ranges for free. If anyone wanted to go down and try it out you could, there’s nothing stopping you. WGME lessons are Dhs300 an hour for a private lesson, but that can be divided between the number of players to make it even more affordable.
Can younger women get involved? Absolutely. What puts some younger people off is they may think it’s boring, but it’s actually a very challenging sport. We started a UAE national girls’ programme with girls at Latifa School in Nad Al Sheba teaching girls ages 11 to 12, none of them had played before but their enthusiasm was great and they are still playing and improving. It’s starting to take off with the schools, and we’re keen to see more UAE national women and girls take up golf. Lessons from Dhs300 per hour for private lessons. For more information on Women’s Golf Middle East and to join a ladies golf class visit www.womensgolfme.com or call (050 657 1779).
Golf classes for all
Emirates Golf Club If you’re visiting Dubai and want to perfect your swing on one of the best courses in the region. You can enrol on the ‘learn golf in a week’ course at the Emirates Golf Club. Dhs550 for member, Dhs600 for guests. Emirates Living (04 417 9845).
Jebel Ali Golf Club This club houses a course ideal for the new golfer requiring an introduction to the game. From Dhs850 for a package of five 30 minute lessons. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort (04 814 5555).