Berkhamsted Golf Club have today announced their world-first decision to allow both men and women to compete in the Berkhamsted Trophy.
The Berkhamsted Trophy is one of amateur golf's most prestige, long-established tournaments. The 72-hole event is entering its 61st year and, for the first time in its history, will now invite women to take part and compete alongside their male counterpart for the same prize.
Inviting women to take part is not only a first for Berkhamsted Golf Club but also a world-first for elite amateur golf. This decision, alongside the top performances and coverage at last year's Solheim Cup, demonstrates the demand for more women in golf. Not only are more females engaged with the sport, but those in charge are willing to make progressive changes.
The golf club has received support from The R&A and England Golf who are working on a flexible teeing system to ensure that both men and women can compete on equal footing.
In 2018, The R&A introduced its Women in Golf Charter with the aim of increasing female participation in golf. Since the launch, they have worked to encourage more families to enjoy golf as a leisure activity alongside providing more opportunities for women to work in the industry and play competitively.
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Chief Executive of The R&A, Martin Slumbers says, “The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter is a call to action for everyone involved in golf, from national associations to clubs, to do more to attract women and girls to take up this wonderful sport.
"There are many different ways in which this can be achieved and we are supportive of initiatives, such as this by Berkhamsted, which encourage women to compete and play golf at all levels of the game,” he added.
Henry Tse, Berkhamsted Golf Cup captain, described it as "unsustainable" for golf to continue to keep men and women separate.
"Berkhamsted has always been a progressive club, and we like to play golf as nature intended – as expressed by the lack of man-made hazards on our golf course. This decision is a natural evolution not only of that ethos, and but also of the way the modern world works," Tse says.
One of Berkhamsted Golf Club's most successful female members is Alice Hewson, last year became the first Englishwoman to play a competitive tournament round at Augusta National.
"I am so proud of my home club for embracing equality. I hope the public will come and watch this year’s Berkhamsted Trophy, to see the very best amateur golfers of both sexes on a fantastic golf course," says the 22-year-old.
The Hertfordshire based golf club, rated as one of the Top 100 in England, is famous for its bunker-free course on natural heathland, and this year's season-opening event will be eligible for World Amateur Golf Ranking points for both women and men.
The tournament will take place from Thursday 2nd April to Saturday 4th April and entries are open to golfers with handicaps of one or better.News Now - Sport News