Golf’s most dynamic new market

Tasked with transforming Saudi Arabia’s golf market from a handful of grass courses to the world’s fastest growing participation and tourism destination, the National Golf Strategy we devised had sustainability, strong governance, mass participation and employment opportunities at its core.
  • Client
    Golf Saudi
  • Services Rendered
    Benchmarking & Analysis, Capacity Modelling, Strategic Development, Operational Modelling

Our long-lasting relationship with Golf Saudi began in 2018, when 54 was commissioned to help develop the national strategy for golf in Saudi Arabia. At that time, it was a country with fewer than 10 grass golf courses. Today, Saudi Arabia is known as the world's fastest-emerging golf nations in terms of infrastructure and participation, and is soon to become established as a leading destination for golf tourism.

Our task was to model a prosperous domestic golf market in Saudi Arabia, whereby a circular economy and broad sustainable practice would underpin governance of the sport, creating participation, education and employment opportunities in golf. As such, golf was envisioned as a tool to enhance welfare among the people of Saudi Arabia.

This roadmap was to be created in adherence to the vision of golf becoming a self-sustaining industry, delivering benefit back to the national economy, but independent from central government funding.

2.8m projected golf participants by 2030

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Following early feasibility work, 54 and the Saudi Golf Federation set about developing a National Strategy for Golf, seeking to align existing stakeholders behind the national development programme. The strategy covered five crucial pillars to development of the game in the country: Mass Participation, Access & Infrastructure, Elite Development, Events and Tourism. Sustainability was added as a sixth pillar from the second year of the programme.  

A key foundation of the National Golf Strategy was the creation of Golf Saudi, the commercial arm of the Saudi Golf Federation. Under its jurisdiction, 54 conceptualised historic events, such as the Saudi International and Aramco Team Series, going on to deliver event management, marketing and commercial services on a regular basis at these groundbreaking occasions for sport in Saudi Arabia. The 2020 Aramco Saudi Ladies International was the first major professional female sporting event ever to take place in the country.  

Golf Saudi's advisory service was also established, within which 54 staff assisted the multi-billion-dollar GIGA projects lay-out blueprints and models for the development of their own golf ecosystems.  

And, as continues to this day, Golf Saudi's commitment to sustainability in the broadest sense of the word was underlined in partnership with 54, with the creation of the National Sustainability Strategy for Golf, a world-first, government-endorsed mandate that would establish social, economic and environmental parameters by which all golf developments in future would be governed. This culminated in Golf Saudi's acceptance into the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework and now sees a number of education and training programmes at all levels from primary to tertiary education in place on campuses around the country.

"I have long admired the vision of Golf Saudi, but more importantly the work that is being done on the ground to provide access to the sport for all levels."

Gary Player

15 professional events in Saudi Arabia since 2018

5,500 children introduced to golf in schools


Through a partnership spanning more than six years, the Saudi Golf Federation, Golf Saudi and 54 have achieved something remarkable. Saudi Arabia is now home to more internationally significant professional golfing events than any other country in the world, outside of the United States.  

Golf has been included within components of the national school curriculum and the domestic industry already employs thousands of individuals, with this number set to explode over the coming years. Programmes are also in place supporting the entry of female and disabled players to the sport.  

The National Sustainability Strategy will ensure that future developments work to create job opportunities for domestic residents, that the welfare benefits of golf are communicated to people in the country and opportunities are provided to participate, and that no harm is done to the environment in the creation or operation of golf facilities.