Golf Inc. honors Norman, Player, other leaders

The recent Saudi Golf Summit attracted some of golf’s most iconic figures and industry leaders, as well as honored some of the most accomplished with Golf Inc. awards.  

The inaugural event took place from February 2-4 at King Abdullah Economic City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Dubbed “The Power of the Game,” the invitation-only event showcased golf’s latest developments and innovations, as well as Saudi Arabia’s growing role in game.

Those receviving Golf Inc. awards included a who's who of golf leaders, from former champions to architects. 

They included:

Golf Inc. Global Golf Diplomat Award: Greg Norman

Greg Norman is most often recognized as golf’s “Great White Shark,” wearing his patented panama hat to capture more than 90 worldwide victories, including 20 on the PGA Tour and two Open Championships. The 65-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer has capitalized on his successful golf career to become one of the most high-profile global business entrepreneurs, thereby being honored with Golf Inc.’s Global Golf Diplomat Award.

More than a dozen companies bear the native Australian’s name and iconic shark logo as a part of the Greg Norman Company, where he is the Chairman and CEO. Norman’s brand ventures outside of just golf into a variety of products, including his own brands of wine, clothing, beef, real estate and investment. His architectural firm has designed 106 courses on six continents and in 34 countries, including two which host PGA Tour events.

Norman is the official ambassador for the Vietnam golf industry and provides consulting services for the Diriyah Gate development in Saudi Arabia. Norman is scheduled to design a course on site in Saudi Arabia.

Golf Inc. Worldwide Services to Golf Award: Gary Player

Gary Player has many titles: World’s Most Traveled Athlete. Mr. Fitness. The Black Knight. Player’s relevance in golf dates to the 1950s when he traveled 40 hours by air from his home in South Africa with his family to play on the PGA Tour in the United States. The impact Player made on the world with his positive physical and mental approach and winning ways (nine major championships, more than 160 wins) enabled the 84-year-old to become a World Golf Hall of Famer, but even more so an example of healthy living. As a result, Player was honored at the Golf Saudi Summit with the Golf Inc. Worldwide Services to Golf Award.

Player’s business portfolio includes golf course design, real estate, a foundation and academies giving back to South African youth, licensing, events, publishing, wine and apparel. Gary Player Design recently developed a relationship with Golf Saudi where he will design and develop high-profile Championship golf courses.

In early 2020, he was chosen to receive the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, to be given at the White House at a date to be determined.

Golf Inc. Services to Education Award: David Leadbetter

David Leadbetter is one of the most notable golf instructors in the world, whether it be with famous professional golfers such as Nick Faldo or Ernie Els or higher-handicappers and youth at one of his many academies located globally. Leadbetter’s teaching efforts earned the 67-year-old native of England the Services to Education Award at the Golf Saudi Summit.

Leadbetter was recognized as the 2017 PGA of America Teacher of the Year and has been focused on instructing all types of golfers since the early 1980s. Additionally, Leadbetter has authored seven golf instruction books and numerous instructional DVDs and television shows. The Leadbetter Academies, with 40 locations in 15 countries, continues to develop new means to teach budding golfers, including a recent technology initiative to more quickly and efficiently instruct. As Saudi Arabia starts its grassroots program, Leadbetter will play a key role in developing a curriculum for participants.

 Golf Inc. Master Architect Award: David McLay Kidd and Robert Trent Jones Jr.

David McLay Kidd and Robert Trent Jones Jr., are noted for designing some of the world’s most respected golf courses. Both were recognized with the Master Architect Award at the Golf Saudi Summit.

Kidd is Scottish born and a longtime Oregon resident. He learned his architectural trade by watching his golf course superintendent father Jimmy mold Gleneagles in Scotland and was carried on when he designed Bandon Dunes’ original course in Oregon. The honor recognizes the ecological benefit and sustainability priorities he learned from his father, traits that will be top of mind when he designs a course in Saudi Arabia.

Jones also picked up on architecture from his father, the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr., and was paralleled by his younger brother Rees as they grew up in New Jersey. His global selection of courses includes Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., site of the 2015 U.S. Open. He was instrumental in advising Golf Saudi officials on a successful golf course model and is honored for his long-term commitment to golf and continuing his family tradition of course architecture.

Golf Inc. Services to Golf Award: Tim Schantz

Tim Schantz became the CEO of Troon Golf in 2019 and is the recipient of the Services to Golf Award. Troon Golf manages more than 500 courses worldwide out of its Arizona headquarters as the world’s largest operator of resort, daily fee and private clubs.

Before becoming CEO one year ago, Schantz spent more than 20 years specializing in corporate and real estate transactional matters. He was an attorney in private and corporate practices at two locations before joining Troon in 1998. Schantz is a Colorado native and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and his law degree from the University of Kansas. He serves on the Board of the National Golf Foundation (NGF).

Golf Inc. Global Environmental Stewardship Award: Andy Johnston, General Manager, Sentosa Golf Club

Andy Johnston owns the unusual dual title of General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, voted the top golf course in Southeast Asia. Located on the tropical island of Sentosa, just a half mile south of Singapore’s mainland, Sentosa has 36 holes which have hosted multiple professional men’s and women’s events, is the only publicly accessible course in Singapore and is the Asian home of The R&A. Sentosa Golf Club opened in 1974 and currently has more than 1,500 members.

Johnston grew up in the United States and earned a degree from Michigan State in 1986 before becoming involved in the agronomy and course design field throughout the U.S., including the development of his own company, Johnston Design and Agronomy. From his home base in Florida, he was asked to assist with work at Sentosa in 2010 and has been involved full time as a Sentosa resident in multiple roles as a manager, superintendent and course re-designer for both courses. He continues projects with his own company around the world.

The Global Environment Stewardship Award is given to Johnston and Sentosa for leading the way in promoting environmental stewardship, conversation concepts and sustainability in the golf industry.

Global Golf Vision Distinction Award: Yasir Al Rumayyan, chairman of Golf Saudi/Saudi Golf Federation

Yasir Al-Rumayyan was given the Global Golf Vision Distinction Award for his role in developing golf as a sport in his country. Al-Rumayyan is the Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, an initiative to bring high-level golf and business to Saudi Arabia and to produce top-class talent by using the sport as part of Saudi Arabia’s transformation.

This effort includes the Saudi International, a European Tour event held every February beginning in 2019. The first two winners were Dustin Johnson of the United States and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland at Saudi Arabia’s Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. The first Golf Saudi Summit business gathering was held in February 2020 in conjunction with the golf tournament. Two of Saudi Golf’s goals include generating 24,000 golfers and creating 3,500 jobs.





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