On Saturday, Emily Pedersen played the Women’s Saudi Arabian Pro-Am, a tournament that features each player shooting 12 holes in the pros and nine holes for amateurs. In addition to playing alongside some of the best women players in the world, Pedersen said her “perceived playing surface was the exact same as in all other women’s tournaments.”
I had the privilege of playing alongside some incredible golfers in the Saudi Ladies International Pro-Am yesterday. The first hole featured a ceremonial plaque, with everyone at the 12th tee decorating the plaque to remember its owner. Our group of reporters, reporters from Fortune and People magazines, a television crew from the “Today” show, and some friends (our fiancé is from Saudi Arabia) all had a shot at the plaque, which was installed at the course last year. It represented the fact that women in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to play on their own course, so we were representing them with this custom plaque. Unfortunately, our plaque wasn’t signed by the owner as most did, as she passed away three months before. I think that’s awesome. For many women in Saudi Arabia, to have a monument on a private course to honor their own personal contributions makes a world of difference in everyday life. The course management also provided us with alternate tee times on each hole, which was also exceptional. Each day started with a warm-up of 50 yards of a sit-ups routine, quick warming up, or brief reflection, or a combination of both. The last few days have included taking two hours to walk around the course, adjusting equipment and watches, and doing some putting, followed by dinner and again a warm-up routine. In the morning, we broke for a little lunch, followed by optional pre-round interviews. The clubhouse was very small, with one set of bunkers, a green, and a pair of tees for individuals to use if they so chose. We had a knot of cameramen up on the first tee-box that was set up in front of a large television. We were very thankful that both people working the video and sound equipment happened to be members of the Saudi Ladies Golf Association (SGB). I actually met “the king” and several other members, and had a very cordial lunch with them. Then we walked the golf course and played a bit. I can say that I am certainly intrigued by the Saudi Pro-Am. Although we didn’t play together, it still was a surreal experience. It’s made me think about how different our field of play would have been if we had been in the past. Everyone was so friendly and, on top of that, we had a locker room to ourselves. Oh, and it was absolutely gorgeous.
This week, Pedersen will play the Senior Golfers Cup, a tournament that features top golfers from around the world, including some of the world’s best senior golfers. Pedersen is playing in the women’s field of the Senior Golfers Cup, which this year takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 4 in Stockholm, Sweden. Click here to check out more photos from Pedersen’s trip in Saudi Arabia.
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You’ll notice that it’s an image of Pedersen, but it’s not. It’s the result of a dummy on a golf course being photographed with a mirror, and uploading the photos to Instagram.
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