Celebrating Scots women driving golf forward

Women’s golf in Scotland is aiming to recover from the pandemic with two major championships for players and fans to look forward to this year.

The momentum in the women’s game stalled over the last couple of years with tournaments in Scotland played behind closed-doors in 2020 and with reduced audiences in 2021.

But all eyes will be on the Home of Golf for the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, North Ayrshire [July 28 – 31] and the AIG Women’s Open [August 4 – 7], which will be played at Muirfield for the first time, both supported by VisitScotland.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which runs the links course in East Lothian, admitted the first female members in 2019. Looking forward to the venue hosting the AIG Women’s Open is particularly symbolic today (Tuesday 8 March) on International Women’s Day, when the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

VisitScotland remains strong supporters of the women’s game in Scotland, recognising the role it has to play in the hosting and staging of world-class women’s golf tournaments. VisitScotland recently announced a new long-term commitment to the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open and remains a key partner, working with The R&A to elevate the status of The AIG Women’s Open.

Recent tournaments in Scotland have seen phenomenal women’s talent step into the spotlight such as Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist who claimed her third Major title at the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie in 2021 and Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open 2021 winner, American Ryann O’Toole, grabbing her maiden LPGA Tour title at Dumbarnie Links in Fife.

Scotland’s homegrown professional talent is amongst some of the best with the likes of three-time LET winner Carly Booth, who also remains the youngest-ever Scot to qualify for the Ladies European Tour at the age of 17, Kylie Henry who won her first Ladies European Tour title in 2014 at the Deloitte Ladies Open Tournament in Amsterdam and of course Catriona Matthew OBE who boasts 11 professional wins, as well as captaining the winning European Solheim Cup team in 2019 at Gleneagles, Perthshire and in 2021 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

Not to mention, becoming the first European Solheim Cup Captain to achieve the feat of back-to-back wins. Scotland also has some very exciting up and coming talent with Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling. The former finished joint-10th in her major debut at AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in 2021, her participation in which came courtesy of ending a 24 year wait for a Scottish winner of the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship. A win which has also secured spots in both the US Women’s Open and Augusta National Women’s Amateur this year.

Last week, Duncan was named in the Great Britain and Ireland squad for this year’s Curtis Cup alongside Hannah Darling who is the first Scottish winner of the R&A’s Girls’ Amateur in two decades. Following this win Darling, who also represented Team Europe in the PING Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in 2019, has sealed exemptions into the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship, the US Girls’ Junior Championship, AIG Women’s Open Final Qualifying and, by tradition, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur where fans can watch her play this year.

As part of Scotland’s hosting of The 2019 Solheim Cup, which in part targeted increasing participation levels in the sport amongst women and young girl’s, Scotland is hoping to see success on the national and international stage for many more years to come.

Beth Allan

Beth Allen, PGA and Ladies European Tour Professional Professional Golfer, originally from California now Edinburgh based, said: ‘Scotland makes a great stage for golf for everyone because there is nothing like playing in the Home of Golf. For women, it is especially good because of the quality of golf courses and the backing of women’s golf that we have received. The prize money for the Women’s Scottish Open has continued to grow and the attention the women’s golf receives for playing events on courses like The Renaissance Club, Dumbarnie and Dundonald is invaluable.’

Heather McRae

Heather MacRae, PGA and Ladies European Tour Professional, originally from Stirling, attached to Gleneagles Hotel said: ‘Growing up, Annika Sorenstam was definitely my hero, to me she changed the game for ladies. Catriona Matthew is a huge inspiration and role model- watching her win the British Open so soon after becoming a mother was amazing and she is such a great person too. She’s always there to offer advice to myself and I’m sure all the other Scottish amateurs and professionals.

‘I think since Covid the number of women and girls participating in golf has increased and people have been out and getting to see just how beautiful our golf courses are here. Golf doesn’t always have to be competitive, and I think more people are starting to realise that.’

Michele Thomson

Michele Thomson, Ladies European Tour Pro, from Aberdeen said: ‘My advice for girls who want to get involved in golf would be to find a golf course where there are some other girl members and have fun together. Practice hard and you will get the rewards.’

Louise Duncan, Curtis Cup Great Britain and Ireland squad member, originally from West Kilbride said: ‘There’s no better feeling than hitting your best shot ever. Enjoy going out with some friends and possibly meeting friends for life.’

Alan Grant, Senior Golf Manager, VisitScotland said: ‘It is extremely positive to be able to look forward to these superb occasions for women’s golf after a challenging two years. Golf tournaments provide the perfect stage to showcase Scotland’s first-class courses to the world and Scotland is leading the way in investment in women’s golf events, supporting the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, the AIG Women’s Open and hosted The 2019 Solheim Cup.’