A group of 70 schoolchildren and accompanying parents and volunteers were among the first visitors to the new QAFCO Family Zone at this week’s US$2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club.
The 70 children from Doha College, accompanied by 40 volunteers and 10 school staff, enjoyed mini golf and target practice using plastic golf clubs and tennis balls, all part of activities organised by United Through Golf, a community-based initiative by Doha Golf Club.
The visit by the youngsters showed off the many attractions of the expansive Family Zone, which is designed to promote golf locally and attract a new audience to the four-day tournament, now in its 17th year.
Chris Myers, General Manager of Doha Golf Club, which has hosted the event since its inaugural edition in 1998, said the creation of the Family Zone reflects the growth of both the tournament and the local population.
“Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed huge growth in the number of people coming to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, so we needed to expand the activity areas for the week. It’s indicative of the growth of the population and the increase in schools reflects the number of people coming to Doha,” said Myers, who has lived in Qatar for 21 years.
“The Family Zone is looking great and we’re expecting many more kids. As much as people love the opportunity to see the world’s best professional players, not all the spectators are golfers, so we’re giving them lots of other activities. Now, there’s something for everyone.”
The Family Zone, sponsored by QAFCO (Qatar Fertiliser Company), is situated on the grass lawn beside the clubhouse and includes nine holes of mini golf, target challenges, open and covered seating areas, televisions with live coverage of the tournament, and food and drinks by The St Regis Doha, the tournament’s Official Hotel.
Andy McCormick, Head of Community Development at Doha Golf Club, said: “We’re providing an opportunity where people can play sport in a fun and creative way. Some kids don’t play a lot of sport, so this is a great opportunity to learn. It’s done in a way that makes golf easy to play and to see the fun. The presence of so many volunteers to help organise the schoolkids also shows how the community is keen to support the initiative.
“The initial feedback on the Family Zone has been great. It’s capturing people’s imagination and targeting people who may not play golf and let them know that you don’t have to play golf in its traditional form to reap the rewards of sport and its values. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do, and the feedback and interest has been very encouraging.”
Stars competing in the Qatar Masters include World No. 3 Henrik Stenson, World No. 11 Sergio Garcia, reigning PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, former World No. 1s Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, and four-time major winner Ernie Els.
The 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters runs from Wednesday 22 January to Saturday 25 January. Evening entertainment will begin from 6pm on Thursday and Friday. Both single-day (Thursday/Friday) and season tickets include entry to the concerts, which include American performers Divas of Soul on Thursday and Scottish band Texas on Friday.
Season tickets provide exceptional value, offering access to all four days of golf action, the public village and all evening entertainment for just QAR325, more than 40% less than four single-day tickets.
Single-day and season tickets for the2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters are available to purchase online at www.virginmegastore.me and in-store from Virgin Megastore shops in Villagio Mall and Landmark Mall, Doha, as well as Doha Golf Club.
Wednesday 22 January 2014: QAR100
Thursday 23 January 2014: QAR150 (includes evening entertainment – Divas of Soul)
Friday 24 January 2014: QAR150 (includes evening entertainment – Texas)
Saturday 25 January 2014: QAR150
Season Ticket: QAR325 (includes 22 January - 25 January event entry and all evening entertainment)
Entry is free for children under 15 years of age. For those looking for an extra-special experience, a range of popular corporate hospitality packages are available. For more information visit the tournament’s official website, www.qatar-masters.com.
United Through Golf website:www.unitedthroughgolf.com