The Surrey heathland will welcome the world's best female players in 2023
Walton Heath To Host Women’s Major For First Time
Walton Heath Golf Club will break new ground by hosting the prestigious AIG Women’s Open for the first time at the Surrey venue in 2023.
It will represent only the second of golf’s Major Championships to be played over the acclaimed heathland course following the men’s Senior Open in 2011. English golfers have won twice since the turn of the century, Karen Stupples in 2004 and Georgia Hall two years ago.
In making the historic announcement, to coincide with the 2020 event at Royal Troon, golf’s governing body and event owners, The R&A, confirmed that the next five venues would be “world class”, with Walton Heath sitting proudly in the centre of a quality quintet of locations, namely Carnoustie (2021), Muirfield (2022), St Andrews Old Course (2024) and Royal Porthcawl (2025).
The R&A’s decision to award the top women’s tournament to Walton Heath – the only English venue in that five-year cycle – is a huge compliment to a club with a long and distinguished history of hosting leading amateur and professional events.
It also endorses Walton Heath’s initiative in becoming the first golf club in Surrey to sign up for The R&A’s ‘Women in Golf Charter’ last year.
The Charter aims to inspire a more inclusive culture within golf around the world and Walton Heath embraced this enthusiastically, developing a range of initiatives focussing on encouraging more women and girls to play golf and stay within the sports as members of clubs.
In addition to the Senior Open, Walton Heath staged a famous Ryder Cup clash between Europe and the United States in 1981, five European Opens and most recently, in 2018, the British Masters hosted by Justin Rose.
Walton Heath also annually stages the US Open European Qualifier and the Walton Heath Trophy for elite amateurs.
Walton Heath Chairman, Dr Alastair Wells, welcomed the opportunity to bring the world’s best female professionals to this part of Surrey, saying: “Hosting the AIG Women’s Open, one of the five ladies Majors played annually, is a great honour for Walton Heath and will add to our rich golfing heritage.
“We were proud last year to sign up to The R&’A Women in Golf Charter and we very much hope that this event will provide a great boost for women’s golf both locally, in the UK and internationally. We all enjoyed seeing large crowds on the Heath for the British Masters two years ago and the AIG Women’s Open provides another opportunity for golf fans in the county, and further afield, to watch world class women’s golf.”
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&’A, said, “We have a real ambition to grow and elevate the AIG Women’s Open for the benefit of the world’s leading golfers and so we are excited to confirm our intention to play the next five championships at these renowned courses.
“It has truly been a collaborative effort from all the venues involved to make this schedule possible and the flexibility that they have shown in adjusting their own calendars has been vital in allowing us to confirm our plans for the championship through to 2025.”
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