THE Rose Ladies Series will arrive at The Shire London for its penultimate event later this month with places in the three-day Grand Final up for grabs.
Created by Olympic Champion Justin Rose and his wife Kate, the Series has caught the mood of the golf game post-lockdown.
It has given Ladies European Tour members – and a handful of the best up-and-coming English talent in the amtaeur ranks – a chance to play competitive golf, while both the LET and LPGA have remained in hibernation and the amateur calendar has been paused because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Reigning Olympic champion Rose, who came up through the Hampshire junior ranks, was keen to add another event to the original six on the list after the series was created in a matters of days in June.
And the 2013 US Open champion chose the one and only Seve Ballesteros-designed course in the UK – The Shire London – as its venue for the Rose Ladies Series’ penultimate event on July 30.
The Spanish legend’s 18-hole layout will provide a perfect challenge for players battling to compete in the 54-hole Grand Final.
The latter will be played at North Hants – Justin’s home club at Fleet – The Berkshire, at Ascot, and finally Wentworth’s West Course, from August 5-7.
Rose, who has played in five Ryder Cups, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the interest the series has received.
“We were keen to add another event. The Shire London is a perfect venue in which to play it for a few reasons.
“It is the only Seve-designed course in the UK and he was one of my idols growing up. But also the location and course conditioning.
“For me, it really will be a special place to hold our penultimate event.”
New women’s programme at Shire
INSPIRED by LET player Liz Young’s efforts to put on a competition for fellow professionals, starting at her home club in the heart of the New Forest, the Rose Ladies Series was designed to help professional golfers in the UK get back playing competitively.
Featuring England’s rising amateurs also resonates with the work The Shire’s owners have done to champion junior golf in recent years.
It staged the 2018 American Golf Junior Championship. It has also hosted qualifiers for the European Junior Golf Tournament as well as the Hertfordshire Futures Tour run by the county golf union.
The Shire is also launching a new programme whereby women of all abilities will be able to learn new – or develop existing – skills and techniques with the club’s new junior coach Harry Casey.
The former England international won the Carris Trophy in 2011, before earning cards on the EuroPro and Alps Tours. He also played 30 times on the European Challenge Tour.
The programme aims to be an enjoyable and social experience to bring even more women into the game.
Shire director Ceri Menai-Davis said: “We are ecstatic to be holding the Rose Ladies Series at The Shire London.
“It will not only showcase our championship quality venue, but demonstrate the Bridgedown Group’s commitment to growing the game for everyone.
“When we heard about what Justin and Kate were proposing, we were immediately excited to be involved. To be welcoming some of the biggest and brightest stars to the club will be a real thrill.”
Wenworth Final will create more history
THE Rose Ladies Series has already created history by becoming the first ladies professional event to be played at Royal St George’s.
And the Grand Final will break more new ground next month when the famous Wentworth West Course – which is home to the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship – will stage a women’s professional event for the first time in August.
Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh has made all the running so far to lead the Order of Merit. She has had back-to-back wins at The Buckinghamshire Golf Club and Royal St George’s.
This week the action moves north to Uttoxeter with the JCB Golf & Country Club the next stop on the Rose tour on July 16, before Berkshire’s Bearwood Lakes welcomes the players on July 23.
After The Shire, the top 51 players on the American Golf Order of Merit will be eligible for the first two rounds at North Hants and The Berkshire.
The top 36 and ties will then play 18 holes on the famous Burma Road course.
As well as American Golf matching the £35,000 donated by the Roses for prize funds covering the first seven tournaments, Computacenter has also pledged £35,000 for the Grand Final.
Rose’s agent Paul McDonnell, of Excel Sports management, said: “We are very lucky that Computacenter and American Golf have come onboard. They have made it a much more attractive and rewarding series.
“The series has really snowballed. It is great that these talented players have the chance to play in a meaningful competition.”
Sponsor Computacenter looking to the future
COMPUTACENTER’S managing director Neil Hall has suggested the sponsorshiop will be just the start of his company’s support.
He said: “Computacenter is absolutely committed to driving diversity in the tech industry and creating an environment where women can excel.
“We are very proud to support Kate and Justin in providing a powerful platform for women’s golf, both now and in the future. We look forward to a long-standing partnership.”
Next week’s event will take place behind closed doors at The Shire, on the Hertfordshire-North London border.
Strict health and safety measures will be in place to ensure the safety of the players and all those involved.
Information about the Rose Ladies Series is available by clicking here. Sky Sports will also provide updates and reports.
Dye is cast for future of The Shire and Bridgedown
THE Shire London – renowned for its immaculate year-round course condition and unique course layout – opened in 2007.
Over the past 12 months, its owner the Bridgedown Group has worked alongside the world-famous Dye golf course design group to bring about further improvements.
Tee-2-Green’s Pure Distinction bent grass, used on some of the world’s most famous golf course has been inter-seeded on The Shire’s greens.
The Shire measures 7,028 yards from the Championship tees. Uniquely, it has six par fives, six par fours, and six par threes. The Masters course combines links-like features amid a parkland layout.
Its location in Barnet, North London, close to the M25 and M1/A1, also makes it an accessible society day venue.
•For more information about The Shire London, visit www.theshirelondon.com.