Meet the Match

A Golfer Engaging Women and Children in Qatar

At 29 years old, Yasmian Al-Sharshani is a trailblazer and a pioneer for the game of golf and all female athletes in the Middle East. As one of only three registered female golfers in Qatar, Yasmian is forging new paths for Muslim women to pursue sport with grace, dignity, and honor.

According to Yasmian, the peace she finds on the golf course gives her greater appreciation and perspective for the challenges she faces in life. Golf is her “great escape,” a time to reflect and be one in body, spirit, and mind.

“In life, sometimes you have stress from outside, and when you have golf you have peace,” Yasmian says. “Golf has taught me how to focus and listen to people. It’s given me a strong character. Everyday there are different shots on the course, and there are new people to meet, so I am always learning something new.”

The sole female member of the Qatari National Golf team, Yasmian has her sights set on representing her country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where golf returns after a 112 year absence. Since joining the team in 2008, she has competed in and won a handful of regional and local tournaments throughout Qatar, balancing her academic career and position as the events manager for the Qatar Museum Authority.

Yasmian understands that her story is unique and admits that it is often lonely being the only woman on the course. Opportunities for females to compete in sports in her country are limited, although she is fortunate to come from a family of dedicated athletes. Her father was a swimmer and jockey, her brother is a competitive drag racer and her sister is a Qatari skeet-shooting champion.

“It’s good for a person to know about the value of sport, for your mind and your life,” Yasmian says. “Most of the girls and women here, they go to school and then they go home and do not go outside. They have free time, and if we give them sport they can use that time in a better way.”

In 2013, Yasmian founded Qatar Golf Ladies (QGL), the first women’s center for golf in Qatar and the Middle East. The organization pursues community engagement through cultural and educational activities, and includes social, health and recreational elements for women and children. Months after launching QGL, Yasmian was awarded the 2013 Businesswoman of the Year award at the fourth annual Qatar International Businesswomen Forum.

Yasmian plans to launch her own company, Yasmian Events, following the conclusion of the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP). With her experience during GSMP as the springboard, she will also draw on her prior business and event management background and knowledge in organization and management from the time she spend completing a master’s degree at the International Olympic Academy to take on this endeavor. The company will focus on spreading awareness of the benefits of golf and other sports throughout Qatar.

“I want to continue playing golf for at least one more year, then focus on my business” Yasmian says. “For that, I need to learn more about marketing, how to attract more people to participate in the sport, and to broaden my reach to other organizations in Qatar.”

Rhona Aime, Chief Financial Officer, and Angela Schmelzer, Player Development Program Operations Coordinator, for the PGA of America are perfectly suited for this job. With their commitment to growing the game of golf and expertise in marketing and player development, the PGA of America can help Yasmian make her dreams a reality. In addition, Rhona’s business savvy coupled with Angela’s management and event expertise will undoubtedly make this experience a personal and professional milestone for Yasmian as she develops her own women’s golf organization. We look forward to watching future generations of Qatari women take to the greens, living out Yasmian’s dreams and the PGA’s vision to advance golf throughout the world.

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