Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where have all the competitive lady pros gone?

... hopefully they will turn out in force

to play at Hilton Park (April 28-29)

The tee-off in the female section of the new Xltec Pro Tour has been delayed until the Hilton Park GC 36-hole competition on April 28-29.
The minimum required number of five entries for a ladies' event to be played was never going to be reached for this week's inaugural men's two-rounder at Whitekirk Golf Club, teeing off on Thursday.
"Too early in the season," seemed to sum up the general response from the potential lady competitors at Whitekirk.
But it should be a different story at Hilton Park. In fact, if the foundation stone to a second-tier lady pro tour in Scotland is ever going to be laid, it had better happen at Hilton Park.
If it does not happen at that venue, then it will never happen and people like me and the seven donors of £200 for top-up prizemoney cannot be blamed if we walk away and leave the lady pros to their own devices in future.
But let's be optimistic.
I have good reason to believe that the Xltec Pro Tour ladies' field at Hilton Park at the end of April will include the following:
1 Nicola Melville.
2 Tracey Boyes.
3 Kimberley Crooks.
4 Katy McNicoll.
5 Lynn Kenny.
6 Kylie Walker.
7 Clare Queen.
8 Heather MacRae.
I have my fingers crossed that Ladies European Tour players Vikki Laing, Carly Booth and Pamela Feggans will join the tour, hopefully in time to play at the April 28-29 venue.
That would boost the potential field to 11 players with the possibility that Gillian Stewart, Cathy Panton-Lewis, Karyn Burns and Lesley Mackay, not to mention some WPGA or other pros from England, might join the merry throng!
If we could get a field of 15 lady pros at Hilton Park that would add up to a prize fund of £1,030, which would include £280 from the bonus pot of £1,400 supplied by the following donors of £200 a time.
1 Stewart Spence (The Marcliffe at Pitfodels Hotel)
2 Dave McNicoll (Carnoustie Golf Shop).
3 David J Laing (Civil engineers).
4 Allan Ingram Industrial Cleaning Services.
5 Castle Group Scotland.
6 Name withheld at donor's request.
7 Name withheld at donor's request.
The men's side of the Xltec Tour is being run on the basis of 30 per cent of any field receiving prizemoney. For example, they have 45 competitors at Whitekirk this week, which means that the winner down to the 13th placed finisher will receive prizemoney.
If that is applied to the lady pro event at Hilton Park, then a field of 15 would mean £1,030 divided up into a 1-2-3-4-5 prizelist. Admittedly, in Ladies European Tour terms, it is not a lot of money. But this is not the Ladies European Tour. This is a fledgling lady pro circuit trying to get off the ground as best it can in the belief that each succeeding event will create a bit more publicity in the Press and on websites, and that the interest among lady pros, hopefully from Scotland but the tour is open to any nationality, to come and compete will grow each month. Is that too much to hope?
One critic sent me an E-mail, saying that what I was doing in seeking £200 donors was tantamount to "begging." So be it. If I have to beg to raise money to boost the prizefunds for this lady pro tour section to get off the ground, then I will. If there are any other donors out there, you can E-mail me at


April 28-29: Hilton Park.
May 25-26: Dalmahoy.
July 28-29: Westerwood.
September 28-29: Spey Valley, Aviemore.
October 6-7: Dundonald Links.

+If any lady pro requires details about how to join the tour, what it costs, all they have to do is E-mail