UAE targets more female golfers

Diversity in Dubai

A senior UAE golf official is on a mission to get more Emiratis playing the sport, particularly women.

Aliya Al Qubaisi, head of the Emirates Golf Federation's junior development programme, is encouraged by the fact 150 Emirati children have signed up for the programme – 40 of them girls – but wants to change the way women view the game.

“We want to make sure that all the age gaps are filled, and we are currently focusing on women particularly,” she says.

“We used to have only expats play this sport and gradually we are seeing more Emiratis, but reaching out to women particularly in the Northern Emirates and Western Region has been a challenge.

We would like them to come and experience the sport and hopefully play themselves and encourage their children to play. It is a life-changing experience both physically and holistically.”

Initiatives in recent years to remove perceived barriers to entry and boost female participation in the Middle East are starting to have an impact., the empowering group coaching experience which has introduced a significant number of local women to the game, runs sessions at The Els Club in Dubai. It also held an influencer event in March 2022 to raise awareness of golf and attract more Emirati women.

The UAE also now has a women’s national team, and this year women competed in the Dubai Golf Trophy – one of the most significant events on the country’s golfing calendar – for the first time.

Fifteen percent of all registered golfers in the UAE are female – some 828 women.

Teenager Reem Al Hosani has represented the UAE and agrees more needs to be done to attract women to the game: “Women think no women play golf, so we should change that”.

“In the UAE, golf remains to be a western game — it is not a local game.”