While the resumption of the European and PGA Tours are hitting the headlines, it's the 2020 Pro Tour that's caught Hannah Holden's attention
It’s great that we’re talking about tour golf again and, in particular, women’s tour golf. It’s great to see the Brockenhurst Manor Women’s Open is going ahead, with the likes of Georgia Hall, Meg MacLaren and Amy Boulden taking part.
It’s also great to see the European Tour is back up and running as from July. I, like many others, believe there was more to be done here and they could have used this opportunity for some mixed events – albeit behind closed doors – with the LET stars uncertain of when they’ll play at the top level again.
Luckily the 2020 Pro Tour recognises this gap in the market, and it’s Monday’s resumption of this stalled campaign I’m most excited about.
The innovative gender-equal tour was two events old – Nick Poppleton winning at Crosland Heath and Nick Marsh at Huddersfield – when it was halted due to the pandemic. But it all gets going again at Cleckheaton on Monday.
So how does it work?
The brainchild of Chris Hansen and Adam Walker, the 2020 Pro Tour provides a platform for male and female pros, as well as amateurs with a handicap of four or lower, to compete against each other with a course length calculated to balance out differences in hitting distance.
The women will play a course 11 per cent shorter than the men – as seen in last year’s mixed event in Jordan – to make it a fair test for all with the setup enabling men and women to complete each hole using the same clubs.
As a female golfer I find it very exciting that an opportunity is being provided for men and women to compete on the same stage – which is why I’ve signed up for Monday’s return.
It’s attracted quite the field, too. 2014 Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson – remember him? – is playing, as are MacLaren, Boulden, Carly Booth and Marcus Armitage. There’s also a Paul Broadhurst on the tee sheet – I’ll let you know if it’s the same Paul Broadhurst with six European Tour and two senior majors to his name.
So if you’re not tuning in to the live stream to watch me (hopefully) strolling down the fairways, then there is plenty of other talent on display.
Can you imagine another tour where you can watch some of the best men and women golfers in Europe compete on the same course for the same prize fund? Or even let a 14-year-old female amateur have the opportunity compete in the same field as some of their golfing idols and put their skills to the test?
As with anything that is new there is likely to be some challenges along the way but this can only be tested if women get behind this tour and support the vision. Right now I am not 100 per cent sure if the 11 per cent difference will work, but we will only find out by competing in these events and seeing what happens.
Hopefully if enough players get behind this we can really test out the 11 per cent difference and if it is successful who knows where this could take both club and professional level golf.
Really we have to take our hats off to these guys who have stepped up and provided some support for the women’s game that we desperately need and have been asking for. Now surely it is our turn to pay back the favour and support this great tour and see where this new idea can take the game of golf.
- You can find out information on the 2020 Pro Tour and where to watch it on their website
Photo credit: Andy Crook
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