News.Az interviews Anar Mammadov, President of the Azerbaijani Golf Federation.
Entirely 2012 and the first half of 2013 were ultimately paramount and important periods in the establishment and increase of golf within Azerbaijan. In fact, these years have seen the game of golf continue to emerge as a new kind of sport, to gain and achieve big success and further significant progress in Azerbaijan. Since namely these years date to the establishment and formation of the Azerbaijan Golf Federation, as well as the launch of construction of the region’s biggest golf court in Guba, they are regarded as the pivotal period in the development of golf.
The information posted on the personal Facebook page of the president of Azerbaijani Golf Federation regarding the development of golf, the outreach campaign of this sport among the schoolchildren and the participation of the Azerbaijani Golf Team in the 2016 Summer Olympiad roused a keen interest and made a splash among us yesterday and we decided to interview Anar Mammadov to get detailed information about this issue.
Our interlocutor spoke willingly and cheerfully about how they are going to win the hearts of the walks of life, as well as about the activities of the federation and future plans.
What is a key purpose and mission of the Golf Federation?
AGF was set up in the beginning of 2012 and its mission is to develop golf as a kind of Azerbaijani sport, increase its popularity and make the masses love it. Within a short period of activity, we have carried a certain serious work. In close cooperation with the Youth and Sports Ministry and National Olympic Committee, we are preparing a development strategy of the Azerbaijani golf. New golf stadiums are already being established in our country. A very big golf stadium is being constructed in Guba at the moment and will be put into operation in autumn. As you know, huge development is observed in all sports in Azerbaijan. This sphere is under the direct attention of Mr. President and interest in sports is increasing seriously among people. We want the same tendency in golf, too.
Can golf be regarded as beneficial and fruitful in the formation of the young generation?
Of course. One of the first projects which is conducted and accomplished on our behalf as the Azerbaijani Golf Federation is called “SNAG”
“SNAG” stands for “Start New At Golf” and implies presentation of golf to a wide range of people in a recreational and educational way. It is the only program that encourages all walks of life to try their hand at strength in golf and go through it. Initially, we launched and implemented it in secondary schools of Baku. It considers and covers educational as well as recreational elements and due to this it is possible to raise the deep interest in golf among children. Therefore we have developed and prepared special equipment and materials and applied this fixed project as a pilot one at tens of schools in our capital. As the result of this program implemented at schools on our behalf we were able to enroll 1000 pupils, in general. The school principles of each school that we visited wanted us to come and see them repeatedly. The response and reaction of the children encouraged us to continue this program and to increase the coverage area of the stated program. We are thinking of acceleration of this program with the beginning of the school year and familiarization of more people with this game.
Golf is a new sport for our country and it has to be taught ...
The establishment of the Academy of golf is one of the biggest projects we are working on. Work in this area is already under way, and I think that we will open the academy in the near future.
There will be a mini golf club in the academy area and everyone will learn how to play and get opportunity to practice their knowledge.
The Academy will be facilitated with cutting edge equipment and instructed by professional and high-skilled training staff of PGA (Professional Golf Association). The area of the academy will be equipped with GPS system and Golf Simulator that is provided with world golf courses library. Here people who are willing to play golf will have and obtain the opportunity to get access to more than 130 golf courses.
Anyone can become a member of the Academy of Golf. The most interesting is that the minimum age to join the golf is 4, while the maximum age is unlimited. Of course, we are not talking about professional golf players. Their limit is between the age of 16-50. After 50 players are to take part in the adults Level.
You are trying to present and generate love to golf among the masses. But after that there should be fields to play it. In this sense, what is the situation in Azerbaijan?
You are quite right. As in every field game, a proper field is one of the main conditions to play golf, or in general, to make it possible. Currently we as a federation are working in this direction. I think that the golf courses should not be confined with Baku. On the contrary, they should be opened in regions, as well. Currently, the biggest golf field in the region is being constructed in Guba. This is an 18-hole pitch meeting all international standards, able to host international tournaments. 60 hectares of the golf court area is designed for a high level of golf. It is also planned to hold international tournaments in Guba Golf Complex in future. Close to the golf industry, "Rixos" hotel is being constructed. The hotel is expected to be commissioned by early spring next year. I would like to state that golf experts from the USA and England mentioned Guba to be the perfect one for the game of golf. Additionally, our mini golf course is being built within the Baku Football Academy, which is located in Baku. Professionals will teach juniors to play golf.
As you’ve mentioned before, golf used to be an Olympic sport in the beginning of the century. What international tournaments are now being held?
We will teach children and teenagers to play golf at the future Golf Academy. The most talented ones will be chosen among them and the very first Azerbaijan national golf team will be composed of them.
Azerbaijan Golf Federation is now conducting a special program in order to popularize golf within the country. Because of this program pupils and students are getting familiar with golf.
Once the academy is established, golf uniform and equipment will be promoted under a special license. At the moment, it is to be chosen among 3-4 companies. As you know, golf is included to the nominee list of the Summer Olympic Games 2016 and the vote was accepted in the International Olympic Commitee in 2009. Being a federation, our objective is to prepare golf players to represent Azerbaijan in the upcoming Olympic Games 2016. As country`s president Mr.Ilham Aliyev stated: “Olympic games is not sport competition only, it is a big public event”.
I hope that as a result of Mr.President’s instant attention and care towards sports, there will be the graduates of the Golf Academy among sportsmen who will raise the country’s flag and shortly we will bring an Olympic gold for Golf to Azerbaijan.