More than 200 of Europe’s top amateur golfers will be in Berkhamsted this week for the 61st annual Berkhamsted Trophy – but this time there’s a difference.
In a world-first decision, this historic elite male golfing event has changed its rules of entry to become gender-neutral, and the golf club has been rewarded with entry numbers which smashed its previous record.
A total of 246 male and female golfers entered this year’s event, obliterating the event’s previous record of 164.
After winning an incredible five tournaments in 2021, talented Olivia Lee from Gerrards Cross will be the highest-ranked female competitor in this year’s Trophy, which runs from Thursday, March 31– Saturday, April 2.
“This will be the first time I’ve competed directly with elite male golfers, Berkhamsted sets a tough challenge, and the weather forecast isn’t great – so I am not expecting it to be easy!” said the 17-year-old, who is in the England Girls squad. “But I am putting well at the moment, which you need to do at Berkhamsted, so I am really looking forward to it.”
At +4.4 handicap, Lee plays golf at a level beyond the dreams of most club golfers. Small wonder that in autumn 2022 she will be joining the prestigious University of California, Berkeley golf team where she will combine a four-year degree course with world-class competitive golf across the USA.
One of Lee’s male challengers, Jonathan Selvaraj from the UAE, takes 20 less shots to play a round of golf than the average golfer, playing off his +5.7 handicap. These guys are good!
“It’s likely that some golfers who play in the Berkhamsted Trophy this week will go on to become superstars on Tour, like several of our previous winners” said Howard Craft, Club Manager. “And hopefully one or two of those will come from the ranks of our first-time female competitors, like Olivia Lee.
“Our most recent female golfer to make it on Tour, Alice Hewson, won her first-ever Ladies European Tour event, and almost made the Solheim Cup team last year – so Berkhamsted definitely produces golfers of a great pedigree!”
Defending champion Joss Gosling is determined to lift the Trophy a second time this week. “Golf is a game for everyone and I’m looking forward to defending my title against the best amateur golfers out there – regardless of gender.”
The 72-hole event traditionally takes place on Berkhamsted Golf Club’s famously ‘bunker-free’ golf course. Its challenging heathland layout is rated by multiple assessors as being among England’s Top 100 golf courses.
Spectators are welcome: simply turn up on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, or call ahead on +44 (0)1442 865832 to book a table for your meal back in the clubhouse.
Photo credit: Andy Hiseman