Historic golf tournament returns with new gender-neutral format
After a two-year pandemic pause, the historic Berkhamsted Trophy is making a comeback with the 61st edition, which is set to be the biggest yet after the decision was made to transform the event into a gender-neutral format.
The three-day tournament, which became a 72-hole event in 2016 after nearly six decades of 36-hole play, is the traditional prestigious season opener in men’s amateur play in the UK.
However, in 2022, female golfers will also compete for the trophy for the first time on the famous Berkhamsted bunker-free golf course.
The Berkhamsted Trophy, which runs from Thursday March 31 to Saturday April 2, is eligible for World Amateur Golf Ranking points for men and women.
Howard CraftsClub Manager of Berkhamsted Golf Club, said: “Even with the two-year delay, we believe we are still the first elite adult men’s amateur tournament in Britain, if not the world, to change its rules of play. eligibility to allow both men and women to compete.
“The movement towards gender equality is much bigger than golf, but I hope we help in our own way by opening the Trophy like this.”
The club has sought advice from golfer R&A, England Golf, Tour Alice Hewson and also Captain of the GB&I Curtis Cup Elaine Ratcliffe with regards to the configuration of the golf course, including the placement of tees for female competitors to produce an equal challenge for all players.
“It’s something to celebrate – the first full season of golf since 2019, starting with a historic men’s event with the courage to change the rules,” said Ratcliffe, who in June will take his 12-member team from the GB&I Curtis Cup team in Pennsylvania. , USA, to try to regain the trophy. “It’s another flag in the sand, and it’s important to open people’s eyes.
“Berkhamsted is a phenomenal golf course, I love the way it flows and I’m confident it will thoroughly challenge male and female golfers when they get to play in the spring.”
Former GB&I Walker Cup Captain Peter McEvoy OBE, whose own McEvoy Trophy for junior golfers became gender-neutral in 2021, supports Berkhamsted’s initiative. “The Berkhamsted Trophy has always been the start of the season for me, and I love the golf course,” he said. “I’m delighted they’ve opened it up to female participation and I expect it to be a great success. My own experience with the McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath convinced me that this is the right way to go now.
reigning champion Joss Goslingwho won the 60th Berkhamsted Trophy in April 2019, said: “Golf is a game for everyone and I look forward to defending my title against the best amateur golfers, regardless of gender.”
Berkhamsted Golf Club became a signatory to the R&A’s Women In Golf Charter in 2020, setting milestones towards its goal of attracting more women aged 35-54 to the golf club, as well as strengthening its appeal to female golfers following the success of the Berkhamsted members Alice Hewson and Hannah Screen at an international level.
Berkhamsted’s famous bunker-free layout is ranked by several reviewers as one of England’s top 100 golf courses. It is set on common ground in the largest natural expanse of gorse and heather in Hertfordshire, with over five miles of bridleways and footpaths crossing the golf course and its huge 560-acre estate, full of scenic beauty. natural.
Located in north-west London, close to the western edge of Hertfordshire, Berkhamsted Golf Club is easily accessible from the A41, five miles west of Hemel Hempstead and just 15 minutes from the M1 Junction 8 ( St Albans).
Online registration is now open for the 61st Berkhamsted Trophy at www.berkhamstedgolfclub.co.uk. You can also participate by calling the club on +44 (0)1442 865832.
Image credit: Andy Hiseman