MUSCAT: A delegation from the Oman Golf Association (OGA) have just returned from the home of golf, St Andrews Scotland where the R&A’s International Conference was held. Last staged in 2017 the three-day conference was attended by 170 delegates from the R&A’s overseas affiliates with representation from 65 countries.
The R&A along with the United States Golf Association (USGA) govern the sport of golf worldwide. Due to the pandemic the conference was not held on its normal 4 year rotation in 2021 however the pandemic, and the effect that it has had on golf in both a positive and negative sense, made up much of the discussion.
The conference, titled ‘Golf’s Golden Opportunity’, saw speakers from within the golf industry, and also from outside, discuss the growth that golf has seen over recent years, and how this growth can be further developed. Keynote speakers from organisations such as Golf New Zealand explained their development strategies in growing the game with particular focus on ladies and juniors. Sustainability also featured heavily, both from an environmental perspective, but also in regard to continued participation of those who are introduced to the game through the many available channels including digital engagement.
Head of the delegation and General-Secretary of the OGA, Ahmed al Jahdhamy said “We are grateful for the continuing support and guidance that the R&A have offered the Oman Golf Association and it was a pleasure to attend their International Conference at St Andrews. We will continue to work closely with the R&A and their newly appointed regional development manager Neal Graham to ensure that golf in Oman continues to grow”.
Al Jahdhamy’s words were echoed by Jamie Wood, Technical Director for the OGA, “After the disruption of the last few years it was fantastic to be able to share some time with colleagues from other federations and have the opportunity to listen to a top-class group of presenters. Under guidance from the R&A the attendees were encouraged to look at other sports and industries as a model for increased participation and growth, listening to experts from outside the world of golf commenting on the opportunity that golf currently has was very interesting. As a golfer any visit to St Andrews is inspiring and we have definitely come away with some valuable insights that we hope to be able to use here in Oman”.
The Oman Golf Association represents amateur golf at all levels in the Sultanate of Oman, elite National Teams compete at Under 13, 15, 18, Men’s and Ladies levels in tournaments regionally and internationally, and in collaboration with the golf clubs in Oman the OGA have several initiatives to develop and grow the game, specifically amongst children and ladies.