Maha Haddioui believes the Arab region needs to create more playing opportunities for emerging players, especially amateurs, if the region aims to promote women’s golf.
“It would be a good idea to have a separate women division in the MENA Golf Tour or something of that sort, but it should be for amateurs since they are the ones who will drive the game forward.
“The MENA Golf Tour is great and it is definitely helping Arab professionals to get better and perform. A lot of Moroccans play on the tour and we are very proud that our own Ahmed Marjane has won a tournament on the tour. Basically, if there was a MENA Golf Tour for women, it won’t make a lot of sense for now as there are just two women professionals.
“I would be better to have amateur tournaments which will help players to hone their skills and, hopefully, get to the professional world. Having a woman section in the MENA Golf Tour may be good and the tournaments can be organised in the winter season,” said the first Arab golfer on the Ladies European Tour.
“Basically, I am not really surprised by the lack of Arab female golfers. I know there is going to be more in the future, because federations are doing their jobs and promoting women’s golf.
“It’s a different culture sometimes and it maybe hard to give up on school or do something else like think outside the box. You would never hear a young girl say I want to be a professional tennis player or a professional golfer. Now you hear that. I think it’s just a matter of time before the Arab world has more athletes and more golfers.”
“Things are changing for the better,” said Maha, who would, in particular, cherish a win in the region. “I think about it every day. It’s a little girl’s dream, even if you are 26, you still have a dream to win here in Dubai or in Morocco. It’s something really strong in my heart,” she said.
“If that happens if will sort of inspire other women in the Arab world to take up golf. Maybe young players will think, oh, Maha has done it, we can do it, too.
“The pressure playing in the Arab world is always there. But I try to turn it around; okay, I am the only Arab over here and let’s make the best of it and just enjoy the week,” said Maha, whose goal for the week is to have a top-10 finish.
“A top 10 finish would mean I don’t to have to go back to Q-School. That’s the main goal. I have been working on my strategy on this (Majlis) course that I know quite well,” said Maha, who will be making her third appearance in the tournament.
She is optimistic and so is the Arab world.