Aqaba, Jordan: Ayla Golf Club has become the first venue in the Middle East to sign The R&A Women in Golf Charter, pledging to build on the momentum gained at last week’s Jordan Mixed Open Presented by Ayla to drive gender equality at the club and throughout the region.
Spanish Ladies European Tour player Carmen Alonso, Saudi’s first professional golfer Othman Almulla and former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane were all on hand at the Aqaba venue as Ayla’s Director of Operations, Chris White, confirmed the club’s support for the principles of the Charter.
The announcement came as Ayla Golf Club hosted the world’s first mixed Open, a pioneering event that saw men and women go head-to-head over the same course, for a single prize purse and trophy. With a concept originating from Ayla’s leadership, the tournament saw the Ladies European Tour, Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour come together for the first time, with the intention of highlighting the shared talent, drive and ambition between the sexes.
The ground-breaking event not only promoted gender equality on a global stage but also intended to empower local women and encompassed a series of talks from inspirational Jordanians who have overcome gender barriers to succeed in their respective fields.
Upon signing up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, White said: “As Jordan’s first championship course we believe that it is extremely important that we demonstrate that golf is a game that can be played by everyone, regardless of age or gender.
“We intend for the Jordan Mixed Open to act as a catalyst to develop the sport locally and will build upon the success of the event, and the participation programmes already in place at the club, to continue to work towards growing the women’s game at the club and providing equal opportunities as an organisation.”
Unveiled by The R&A last May, the Women in Golf Charter has been introduced to help foster a more inclusive culture within the game of golf and to ensure that women across the world are afforded equal opportunities to maximise their potential, both on the course and within the golf industry.
Sahl Dudin, Ayla’s Managing Director, underscored that Ayla has a long-standing legacy of supporting sustainable development in Jordan, of which the promotion of gender equality is a key pillar.
“For Ayla, encouraging and supporting the participation of women in sports and other key areas of development is a crucial element in accelerating positive transformation on a grand scale, and Ayla will support all endeavours geared toward such objective,” he said.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “It is important that we continue to highlight the progress being made to promote greater diversity, accessibility and inclusion within golf. Ayla Golf Club has demonstrated its commitment to supporting these aims by becoming the first venue in the Middle East region to sign up to the Women in Golf Charter as well as hosting the world’s first ever mixed professional event.
“Hopefully it will inspire other golf clubs to embrace the opportunities that encouraging more women and girls into the sport can bring.”