Preparations for the inaugural Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla continued apace, as representatives of the European Tour and Ladies European Tour recently touched down in Aqaba, Jordan.
Simon Higginbottom, Tournament Director representing both Staysure and Challenge Tours, and Davide Lantos, the LET’s Director of Tournament Operations, met on site at Ayla Golf Club to survey the golf course and confirm the finer details of the format of play for the innovative mixed gender event.
Their principle objective was to ensure a level playing field for all competitors in the field of 123, consisting of 40 members of each tour and one leading amateur from the men’s, ladies’ and over-50s’ games.
The first-of-its-kind strokeplay event, which will reward one overall champion while reserving special praise for the leading players from the other two tours, will take place from April 4-6, 2019.
The site visit confirmed that the 54-hole tournament will see golfers from each respective tour, for the most part, tee it up from three different teeing grounds per hole.
Careful attention was paid not only to the length of the course facing each competitor but the angles of play as well, ensuring, where possible, bunkers and water hazards have an equal impact.
Simon Higginbottom, Staysure Tour and Challenge Tour Tournament Director, said: “The Jordan Mixed Open brings with it some challenges regarding course set up. With its design emphasis on proper playing angles, strategy and firm ground conditions, the course at Ayla is well suited to the mixed format and will, with our carefully managed tee and pin positions, provide all three categories of player with the ability to score well.”
Davide Lantos, LET Director of Tournament Operations, said: “The Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, which will be played in the cradle of modern civilisation, is a great opportunity to showcase all that is great about women’s golf.
“In a world that is beginning to recognise the importance of gender equality, this unique format and event could not have been better timed. The real challenge for us is in preparing the course and in ensuring the correct format of play so that our male and female professionals can compete on the same course with the same chance to score well. We are sure that this will be a challenging but enjoyable tournament for players and an exciting and engaging event for spectators.”
The new event concept, which recognises the importance of equality and equal opportunity, was the vision of Ayla’s ownership, who have created a premier golf and leisure development close to the Red Sea City of Aqaba and on the shores of Jordan’s southern coastline as an example of a forward-thinking residential community.
Chris White, Director of Operations at the Ayla Oasis Development Company, said: “We are very much looking forward to hosting the world-first Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla in just over five months’ time. Both representatives from the Tours gave very positive feedback on our projected vision for the golf course set-up and we are confident that we will be able to establish a format which encourages exciting play and will see all players given an equal chance of being crowned our inaugural champion.”