Ayla Golf Club has become the first venue in the Middle East to sign the R&A Women in Golf Charter, pledging to build on the momentum gained at this week’s Jordan Mixed Open to drive gender equality at the club and throughout the region.
Spanish Ladies European Tour player Carmen Alonso, Saudi’s first professional golfer Othman Almulla, and former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane were all on hand at the Aqaba venue as Ayla’s Director of Operations, Chris White, confirmed the club’s support for the principles of the charter.
The announcement comes as Ayla Golf Club this week hosts the world’s first mixed open, a pioneering event that will see men and women go head-to-head over the same course, for a single prize purse and trophy. With a concept originating from Ayla’s leadership, the tournament will see the Ladies European Tour, Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour come together for the first time, with the intention of highlighting the shared talent, drive and ambition between the sexes.
The ground-breaking event will not only promote gender equality on a global stage, but is also intended to empower local women and will encompass a series of talks from inspirational Jordanians who have overcome gender barriers to succeed in their respective fields.
After signing up to the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, Chris White commented: “As Jordan’s first championship course we believe that it is extremely important that we demonstrate that golf is a game that can be played by everyone, regardless of age or gender. We intend for the Jordan Mixed Open to act as a catalyst to develop the sport locally and will build upon the success of the event, and the participation programmes already in place at the club, to continue to work towards growing the women’s game at the club and providing equal opportunities as an organisation.”
Unveiled by the R&A in May last year, the Women in Golf Charter has been introduced to help foster a more inclusive culture within the game of golf and to ensure that women across the world are afforded equal opportunities to maximise their potential, both on the course and within the golf industry.
Ayla’s Managing Director, Sahl Dudin, underscored that Ayla has a longstanding legacy of supporting sustainable development in Jordan, of which the promotion of gender equality is a key pillar.
“For Ayla, encouraging and supporting the participation of women in sports and other key areas of development is a crucial element in accelerating positive transformation on a grand scale, and Ayla will support all endeavours geared toward such objective,” he commented.
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said: “It is important that we continue to highlight the progress being made to promote greater diversity, accessibility and inclusion within golf. Ayla Golf Club has demonstrated its commitment to supporting these aims by becoming the first venue in the Middle East region to sign up to the Women in Golf Charter as well as hosting the world’s first ever mixed professional event this week. Hopefully it will inspire other golf clubs to embrace the opportunities that encouraging more women and girls into the sport can bring.”
The Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla tees off today (April 4) and will see 40 players from each co-sanctioning tour, in addition to three amateurs, compete over the championship course at Ayla Golf Club over separate tees but for a single prize purse.