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  • Alistair Tait

More love for English Roses

Take a bow Justin and Kate Rose. You are a credit to this royal & ancient game.

The image of tour professionals is often one of greed and selfishness, players who only jump on their private planes if sponsors are stumping up huge appearance fees. Yes, many are in the fortunate position to do just that, Rose included, but the vast majority give back to the game that has made them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Rory McIlroy, Annika Sorenstam, Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher and others run eponymous foundations to raise money for charity or help promising youngsters develop their skills. Nick Faldo has been doing that since the early 1990s.

Justin Rose and wife Kate have certainly gone out of their way to help those less fortunate than them themselves. They are backing a bigger and better Rose Ladies Series for 2021 to help aspiring British women develop their competitive skills.

Ladies European Tour professional Liz Young probably thought she was just daydreaming last year when she imagined a skeleton schedule of one-day events so women professionals could play competitive golf when Covid-19 shut down the LET schedule. The Roses stepped in to fund the Rose Ladies Series, an eight tournament schedule that fulfilled Young’s dream.

The Roses are backing this year’s schedule too, a bigger and better one than 12 months ago. The Series has grown by three tournaments. Prize money has doubled. Each of the first 10 winners will earn £10,000 with £20,000 going to the Grand Final champion.

West Lancashire Golf Club kicks off the series on 29 April with stops at Woburn, Brokenhurst Manor, The Berkshire, Hillside, Royal Birkdale, JCB Golf & Country Club, Scotscraig, North Hants and the Buckinghamshire before the grand final takes place at Bearwood Lakes.

On a personal note, I’m glad to see my home club Woburn on the schedule. Arguably no club has done more to promote women’s golf in recent years. Two Woburn courses – the Dukes and The Marquess – have staged 11 Women’s Open Championships since 1984, including 2016 and 2019 when the tournament had major status. The Duchess course was the setting for the Ford Ladies Classic for 10 years between 1985–1994, with the Dukes hosting that tournament between 1982–1984.

Charley Hull might not be the world’s 36th ranked player if not for Woburn. She developed her skills over the three courses, while Woburn women members helped fund her when she was an amateur. Charley isn’t the only woman to benefit from the challenge of playing Woburn’s top-100 ranked layouts. Lauren Taylor became the youngest winner of the Women’s Amateur Championship when she won at Royal Portrush in 2011. She’ll be in the field on 6 May when the Rose Series tournament takes place.

On a further personal note, I’ve got the utmost respect for the Roses. Justin hasn’t changed since his amateur days. He still calls me by my first name and has always been extremely generous with his time. I count it an honour to have been in Rio de Janeiro to see him win his Olympic Gold medal.

He and wife Kate’s generosity to British women golfers should not go unnoticed. I said it last year and I’ll say it again this year: you’ve got to love English Roses.

Rose Ladies Series 2021 schedule

  • April 29 – West Lancashire

  • May 6 – Woburn

  • May 13 – Brokenhurst Manor

  • May 21 – The Berkshire

  • August 2 – Hillside

  • August 3 – Royal Birkdale

  • August 5 – JCB Golf & Country Club

  • August 7 – Scotscraig

  • September 20 – North Hants

  • September 23 – Buckinghamshire

  • September 25 – Grand Final - Bearwood Lakes

#JustSaying: “You cannot distinguish between men’s golf and ladies golf. The dreams are same from the outset but it is the opportunity and the platform that is skewed.” Justin Rose

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