After a two-year pandemic hiatus – the first hiatus in the tournament’s 63-year history – the Berkhamsted Trophy will return in its new gender-neutral format.
It was a groundbreaking move made in January 2020 but postponed for two seasons as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on sporting events around the world.
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 both men and women.
Howard Craft, Club Manager at Berkhamsted Golf Club, said: “Even with the two-year delay, we believe we are still the premier amateur adult men’s elite tournament in Britain, if not the world, to change its eligibility rules 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 the R&A, England Golf, Tour golfer Alice Hewson as well as GB&I Curtis Cup captain Elaine Ratcliffe regarding the layout of the golf course, including the placement of tees for 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 squad of the GB&I Curtis Cup team in Pennsylvania, USA, to try to win back 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 how flowing it is and I’m confident it will thoroughly challenge both 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 big hit. My own experience with the McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath has convinced me that this is the right fit. way forward now.”
Defending champion Joss Gosling, who won the 60and 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 women golfers following the international success of Berkhamsted members Alice Hewson and Hannah Screen.
Berkhamsted’s famous bunker-free layout is rated 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.
Online registrations are now open for 61st Berkhamsted Trophy.