Royal Blackheath Golf Club is to host what is believed to be the UK’s first amateur handicap singles competition open to both men and women this summer.
For the first time in the UK, men and women will compete against each other, under handicap, at the same time, on the same course, for the same trophy. The club is inviting entries from all over world, not just the UK.
The inaugural Open Royal Blackheath Trophy will take place on June 24 as part of a week’s celebration of the completion of six years’ extensive course redevelopment at the historic south-east London venue.
Royal Blackheath is renowned for having created the concept of ‘open’ competition, i.e. one open to participants beyond a club’s own membership, having inaugurated the Boys’ Medal in 1847 (13 years prior to The Open Championship itself).
The timing of the event coincides with the launch of the first European Tour event where men and women professionals will compete against each other on the same course for the same prize in the Scandinavian Mixed in Sweden. The Open Royal Blackheath Trophy will allow handicap golfers to experience this type of competition for themselves. The various sets of tees will be individually SSS-rated for the trophy, thereby facilitating any handicap adjustments necessary to ensure that men and women are able to compete against each other on an equal footing.
Royal Blackheath’s parkland course has recently undergone a substantial redesign under the guidance of golf architect Ken Moodie, with work including the building or re-modelling of 77 bunkers, the construction of two new greens, the extension of five putting surfaces, and the building of four new tees.
Club captain Alastair McFarlane said: “Throughout its long history, Royal Blackheath Golf Club has been committed to bringing the game of golf to new audiences, both in the UK and abroad, and we see this initiative as emblematic of our ongoing commitment to inclusivity in the sport. We are genuinely excited to have pioneered this inaugural event in the UK and are confident that its popularity will see it develop into an enduring fixture within the Royal Blackheath and all handicap golfers’ calendar.”
For more details and entry forms, visit www.rbgc.com/open_competitions. The closing date for entries is June 15.