England Golf has given its support to the Berkhamsted Trophy evolving from a men-only championship to a mixed-gender event from April 2020.
The landmark decision to allow both sexes to compete for the trophy is a world first for amateur golf.
Entries for the 72-hole event are now being accepted from all golfers with a handicap of one or better. Invitations will also be extended to a number of elite female golfers.
The 61st staging of the trophy at the Hertfordshire heathland venue will take place from 2-4 April.
Berkhamsted is working on a flexible teeing system with The R&A and England Golf which will ensure that both sexes compete on an equal footing.
The event will be eligible for World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) points for both men and women.
Nigel Edwards, England Golf Performance Director and Team GB leader in the 2020 Olympics, said: “As the country’s governing body for male and female amateur golfers, at England Golf we are delighted to support Berkhamsted Golf Club’s forward-thinking initiative in making the prestigious Berkhamsted Trophy a mixed gender event.”
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A said, “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.”
European Ladies’ Amateur champion Alice Hewson is a member at Berkhamsted and has applauded her home club for the ground-breaking move.
The 22-year-old (pictured above) said: “I’m 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.”
Berkhamsted Golf Club captain Henry Tse added: “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. We will be excited to see men and women compete equally for our beloved Trophy.”
Photograph credit: Leaderboard